Infertility is a disease diagnosed after 12 months and above of regular unprotected sex without achieving pregnancy.
The global statistics on infertility is around 17.5% of the adult population, roughly 1 in 6 worldwide experience infertility, showing the urgent need to increase access to affordable, high-quality fertility care for those in need.
According to studies, infertility is one of the key factors that contribute to divorce rates, either directly or indirectly.
There are various methods of combating infertility, ranging from fertility education, which includes recommendations such as changing lifestyles, the timing of intercourse, and so on, to hormones to promote ovulation, medical treatment of disorders such as diabetes, or surgical procedures for tubal occlusion, which may result in a successful pregnancy.
When all of these options have been exhausted and no desired result has been obtained, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is recommended.
ART refers to fertility treatments in which eggs or embryos are treated outside of a female’s body in order to encourage successful pregnancies and healthy progeny. ART treatments entail surgically removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries, mixing them with sperm in a laboratory, and either returning the eggs to the woman’s body or transferring them to another woman. As of 2020, an estimated 8 million children had been conceived by ART
Forms of Assisted Reproduction Technology
There are various ways of carrying out assisted reproduction technology, which are;
- In-vitro fertilization (IVF); is the joining of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish. In vitro means outside the body. Fertilization means the sperm has attached to and entered the egg. ART for female infertility typically involves IVF.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): This is the injection of a single sperm into an egg. For male infertility, ICSI is often the first choice and it has also been used for non‐male factor infertility. This is also a form of in-vitro fertilization.
- Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT): It involves collecting eggs from the ovaries, then placing them into a thin flexible tube (catheter) with the sperm. The gametes (both eggs and sperm) are then injected into the fallopian tubes using a surgical procedure called laparoscopy.
- Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT): This is similar to GIFT, but also uses in vitro fertilization (IVF). Eggs are stimulated and collected using IVF methods. Then the eggs are mixed with sperm in the lab. Fertilized eggs (zygotes) are then returned to the fallopian tubes with (laparoscopic) surgery. From there, they will be carried into the uterus. The goal is for the zygote to implant in the uterus and develop into a fetus.
- Pronuclear stage tubal transfer (PROST): This is similar to ZIFT, and uses in-vitro fertilization. But it transfers the fertilized egg to the fallopian tube before cell division occurs.
The superovulation (stimulating) phase is the first stage in each of these treatments. This causes the ovaries to generate more eggs by stimulating them using drugs. In comparison to laparoscopy, these techniques (GIFT, ZIFT, and PROST) are more expensive and risky. Additionally, they don’t offer as much helpful data on embryo growth as IVF does. Due to these factors, IVF and ICSI are the most frequently utilized treatments.
Advantages of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
- You Control the Timeline.
- Improved Chances of Having a Healthy Baby.
- A Lower Risk of Miscarriage.
- Use of Donated Eggs or Sperm.
- Improved Chances of Conception.
With the impossibility of giving birth, ATR has made many people happy and given them hope, and its success rate has earned it a place in people’s hearts. Although it has multiple advantages, it also has risks and other aspects (such as financial, cultural, religious, and political concerns) to consider, which is why a doctor’s advice is required.
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