Assisted Reproductive Technology refers to different types of artificial and partially artificial means to become pregnant. It is the current management to worsening infertility problems nowadays. It is also called ARTs for short. ARTs are not easily recommended by physicians. It is a rule of thumb to always try out the most conservative measures first. This technology is very invasive and expensive. ARTs should be the couple’s last resort. In the late 1980s, the first test-tube baby was born via in vitro fertilization (IVF). After this, there was increased popularity not only of IVF but also other forms of ARTs.
IVF & ICSI
The first and most popular is the in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this process, the eggs and sperms are combined in a petri dish inside a laboratory and waits until fertilization occurs. The embryos are left to develop for about 3 to 5 days then placed in the mother’s uterus. Success rate is about 28% to 35%. In intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), on the other hand, one sperm is injected directly inside an egg. After fertilization occurs, the embryo is then placed inside the uterus. It has a 35% success rate and more expensive than IVF.
GIFT & ZIFT
In gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), eggs and sperms are combined in a dish and then injected surgically into the fallopian tubes where fertilization usually takes place. It has a low success rate and is not a common practice anymore nowadays. Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is very similar to GIFT. It differs in the sense that fertilization should take place first and the zygote is injected in the fallopian tube. Still, this has a low success rate compared to IVF, and that’s why it is not commonly practiced nowadays anymore.
Donors and Surrogacy
Donors are needed when one of the partners are not able to produce mature and functioning eggs or sperms. Donated cell is mixed with the functioning cell, they wait for fertilization, and then the embryo is implanted on the mother’s uterus. You may have to need bigger budget as you may have to pay big for the donor cells and the procedural cost itself is more expensive than others. Surrogacy, on the other hand, is the last resort of all the last resorts. It is done when the mother’s uterus is not competent enough to go through pregnancy. Another woman carries the embryo from the husband and wife’s egg and sperm then gives you the baby after being born. There are many legal and ethical concerns not only with surrogacy but for ARTs in general. Always remember that careful review, consideration and consultation is required before making a decision.