What is meant by assisted reproduction?
Assisted reproduction refers to the treatment process used to ensure pregnancy through the means of various procedures such as in vitro fertilization, fertility medication, and surrogacy. As the name indicates, the treatment assists in reproduction in the cases where reproduction hasn't happened following the normal procedures. But there is no single definition that outlines the meaning of assisted reproduction. The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) involves manipulation of sperm, eggs, and embryos outside the human body so that a successful pregnancy can be achieved.
Common Methods of Assisted Reproduction
A number of treatment procedures come under the spectrum of ART. Among the common methods of assisted reproduction are the following:
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
In IVF, fertilization happens outside the body. The process involves giving medication to a woman so that her ovaries produce multiple eggs. When the eggs mature, they are harvested and removed from the body. Then they are combined with the man's sperm in controlled laboratory conditions for fertilization. About 4 to 5 days after this, the healthy young embryos are implanted in the uterus of the woman.
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) and Tubal Embryo Transfer (TET)
ZIFT is a procedure similar to IVF. Here also, fertilization takes place in the laboratory. The only difference is that when the young embryos are transferred, they are placed inside the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Tubal Embryo Transfer (TET) follows the same process as ZIFT but the transfer of embryos takes place at a later date.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
In GIFT, the eggs are harvested like in IVF. Then the sperm and eggs are transferred to the woman's fallopian tube for fertilization to take place there.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI is used in the cases when there are serious problems with the sperm in severe male infertility. In this process, a single sperm is combined with a mature egg and the embryo is transferred to the fallopian tube or uterus.