Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have come long way over the years. The first reported successful case of artificial insemination in humans dates back to 1790. In 1978, the first in vitro fertilisation (IVF) baby was born in England. Almost ten years later Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) and Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) were used successfully. Six years later in 1992, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) resulted in the first of many successful pregnancies.
These developments have paved the way for couples to have children that had otherwise struggled with fertility problems. Furthermore, ARTs are also increasing the maternal age and allowing couples to start families later in life. Nevertheless, there are risks associated with assisted fertility treatments and it’s important to understand these when you are considering your options.
In this section you can learn all about the different types of commonly used assisted reproductive technologies and when they may be recommended. Also covered is information about the procedures involved, costs, success rates and potential risks.
Commonly Used Assisted Reproductive Technologies & Possible Risks
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
IVF is one of the most well-known and widely used assisted reproductive technologies. The process of IVF involves retrieval of eggs from a woman’s ovaries. These eggs are then fertilised with sperm in laboratory conditions and the resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus. It is a complex and often expensive process, however the success rates are typically high. Continue reading
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is very similar to IVF. The main difference is that the fertilisation process does not occur independently. Instead, sperm is carefully selected and manually injected into the egg to form an embryo. It is a very precise procedure and can achieve good results. Continue reading
IntraUterine and IntraCervical Insemination (IUI and ICI)
Although perhaps not as commonly known as IVF, IntraUterine and IntraCervical Insemination (IUI and ICI) are very popular procedures. They are less expensive than IVF and not as complex. Both IUI and ICI involve injecting sperm into the perspective mother. In the case of IUI, the sperm is injected directly into the uterus, while in the ICI the sperm is injected into the cervix. IUI is generally preferred over ICI due to better success rates. Continue reading
Zygote and Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT and GIFT)
Modified IVF treatments, ZIFT and GIFT involve retrieving eggs and combining them with sperm in a laboratory. However, rather than inserting the zygotes (ZIFT) or gametes (GIFT) into the uterus, they are injected into the fallopian tubes. Fertilisation takes place naturally within the body and closely resembles natural conception. The success rates are similar to IVF. However, both GIFT and ZIFT require two surgical procedures opposed to one. Continue reading
Risks of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
All medical procedures present some risks and ARTs are no exception. Not only are there physical aspects, but there are also financial and emotional considerations. Continue reading