Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART for short, is an umbrella term for the many treatments and procedures designed specifically for people who are having difficulty conceiving. ART includes all fertility treatments in which the egg and sperm are both manipulated. Most ART procedures generally involve a woman's eggs being removed from her ovaries and combined with a man's sperm in a medical laboratory environment. Then, the fertilized egg or eggs are returned to the woman's body, where they will ideally grow and develop into a successful pregnancy. No ART procedure is 100% effective, but many couples are able to successfully conceive and maintain a pregnancy using these technologically advanced procedures.
In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is the most popular ART procedure used today. IVF is a process that includes multiple steps. The woman is given fertility medication to encourage ovulation, and once an egg is released, it is removed from the woman's body and combined with a man's sperm in a clinical laboratory environment. Then, the fertilized eggs are placed back into the woman's uterus.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, is another form of art that specifically addresses male infertility. With ICSI, IVF is performed but the woman's egg is directly injected with the man's sperm, raising the likelihood of fertilization. This can be helpful if for any reason the sperm are unable to successfully make their way to and fertilize the egg on their own.
Other ART procedures like gamete intrafallopian transfer and zygote intrafallopian transfer deposit the gametes or zygote into the fallopian tubes rather than the uterus.
Fertility specialists are great resources for information about all aspects of ART procedures. Specialists can provide answers to the many questions most patients have when considering and undergoing fertility procedures, and fertility experts are also prepared to sympathetically support and guide patients through the ART treatment process.
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