Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)

Several procedures can be used to unite sperm and eggs, thus bypassing altogether some of the factors causing infertility. Collectively, these procedures are referred to as assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Although most couples do not require these procedures to conceive, ART provides hope for those who do not respond to other therapies.

The simplest ART procedures use various medicines to stimulate ovulation and laboratory procedures to prepare sperm cells for insemination at the time of ovulation. Advanced ART procedures involve the use of various hormones to stimulate the growth of as many oocytes as possible. This multiple oocyte development increases the chances for fertilization and, subsequently, pregnancy.

After ovarian stimulation, eggs are harvested to be either mixed with sperm in a culture dish (In Vitro Fertilization), or injected with a single sperm cell (Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection).

In vitro fertilization (IVF) was the first ART developed and is the most commonly used ART procedure. It is effective in overcoming a variety of infertility problems, particularly tubal problems or marked sperm problems.

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