Womens Health

Guide to Assisted Reproductive Technologies

For couples experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, there are many options available – one of which is assisted reproductive technology (ART). By definition, ART involves surgically removing a woman’s eggs from her ovaries to be combined with male sperm in a laboratory, so that they may be fertilized and returned to the woman’s body to grow. ART do not include treatment in which only the sperm are handled (as is the case with intrauterine insemination (IUI)).

The most popular of all artificial reproductive technologies is in vitro fertilization (IVF), which accounts for more than 95% of ART procedures performed. However, there are several other more specialized techniques that couples suffering from infertility will want to be aware of.


Common Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Some common examples of assisted reproductive technologies include:


    Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) 

    ICSI is most beneficial in treating male infertility. It involves a microscopic technique (micromanipulation) in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to achieve fertilization so that it may be implanted into the woman’s fallopian tube. ICSI is especially helpful for couples who have previously failed to achieve conception using standard infertility treatment. For men with low sperm count, ICSI can dramatically improve the likelihood of fertilization.
    Cost: $10,000 to $17,000 per cycle
    Success Rate: 34% for each cycle of treatment

    Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) 

    This procedure involves transferring eggs and sperm into the woman's fallopian tube, so fertilization occurs in the woman's body. However, few fertility specialists actually offer GIFT as an option. It is most often recommended for women with open fallopian tubes who have been unsuccessful with other infertility treatments or those experiencing ovulation problems.
    Cost: $15,000 to $20,000 per cycle
    Success Rate: 21% for each cycle of treatment

    Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) 

    Also known as Tubal Embryo Transfer, ZIFT differs from GIFT in that fertilization takes place in a laboratory (as is the case with IVF). The embryo is then transferred to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. This is also considered to be one of the most invasive ARTs and is therefore no longer commonly performed. It is usually recommended in the same circumstances as GIFT.
    Cost: $15,000 to $20,000 per cycle
    Success Rate: 26% per cycle of treatment


    During this procedure, electric stimulation is given to the penis in order to obtain semen from ejaculation. This is particularly effective for men experiencing difficulty maintaining an erection.
    Cost: With insemination, costs range between $10,000 and $15,000
    Success Rate: When combined with artificial insemination, this technique carries a 44% to 88% rate of success per cycle

    Assisted Hatching 

    This technique involves assisting the embryo in its implantation into the lining of the uterus.
    Cost: This is usually included in the cost of artificial insemination
    Success Rate: When combined with IVF, assisted hatching has a 49% success rate per cycle

Best Chances For Success

ART generally works best when the woman has a healthy uterus and responds well to fertility drugs and when the man has healthy sperm. If the latter is not the case, couples may choose to try using donor sperm.

It is also important to note that ART success rates tend to decline after the age of 32.

For more information, visit sharedjourney.com for more information on coping with infertility.


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