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Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted Reproductive Technology
Assisted reproductive technology is a term that is used to describe the various methods that help people who are unable to conceive naturally to give birth to their biological child. The content in the following article will cover information that will help you know more about types of assisted reproductive technology and ethics involved in these procedures.Humans are one of the most fertile species on earth. However, there are a few couples who struggle to conceive naturally. Many face infertility issues or have difficulties getting pregnant. After all methods of conceiving by coital methods fail, doctors advice getting pregnant with the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART). There are a number of procedures today that are an answer to fertility issues and pregnancy problems. About two decades ago, experts carried out an experimental procedure. They called it in vitro fertilization, where the egg and sperm were fertilized in a petri dish instead of a woman's womb. After the usual period of 9 months, the world was introduced to the first test tube baby ever. Soon, this success snowballed into a discovery of various types of assisted reproductive technology. We shall have a look at these procedures in the following paragraphs of this Buzzle article.

What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?
Assisted reproductive technology is a general term that is used to define methods that help a woman get pregnant artificially. It involves surgical removal of the eggs from the woman's ovaries and fertilizing these eggs with sperms in a lab. Once the egg is fertilized, it is returned to the woman's womb for further development. In some procedures, the artificial insemination of the sperms is carried out to help a woman get pregnant. In some cases, medications like gonadotropins and gonadotropin releasing hormones are given to stimulate the follicles in the ovary. ART is categorized according to the eggs used for fertilization. If eggs from the same woman seeking ART are used, it is considered to be a non-donor. A donor procedure indicates eggs from one woman are used for fertilization in another woman.

Types of Assisted Reproductive Technology
There many procedures tailored to suit the unique conditions of different patients. Most of these procedures are invasive and very expensive. Thus, before starting on any of these invasive procedures, the doctors usually advice the conventional methods of conceiving. These include use of fertility drugs that help in increasing the success rate of getting pregnant. If all fails, then there are different types of assisted reproductive technology methods available. They include:

⚤ In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF is the most commonly performed ART method. Here, multiple eggs are extracted from a woman's ovaries. These extracted eggs are then fertilized with the sperms of the woman's partner. These sperms are washed and prepared before fertilization. One can even use donor sperms or eggs, if needed. Once the eggs are artificially fertilized in the lab, they are implanted into the woman's uterus for further growth and development. You can read more about cost of artificial insemination.

⚤ Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICIS)
This is a highly advanced procedure used for couples with serious problems with sperms. This method is usually advised to older patients or those who have repeatedly failed a number of IVF attempts. In this procedure, the experts isolate one sperm and fertilize it with the egg from the woman. After fertilization takes place, the embryo is allowed to develop in vitro for a few days. Then, it is implanted into the uterus at an appropriate biological cycle of the woman's body.

⚤ Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
This is an alternative method to IVF procedure, where the eggs and sperms are collected from the couple. These eggs and sperms are then placed in tiny plastic cylinders and mixed. This mixture is then inserted into the fallopian tube and this is where the fertilization of gametes takes place. The unfertilized eggs and sperms are placed into the fallopian tube with the help of a laparoscope that is inserted through a small incision on the abdomen.

⚤ Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
This method is similar to the GIFT procedure. The only difference being that the fertilization takes place before the eggs are placed in the fallopian tubes. The harvested eggs are mixed with sperms and allowed to fertilize. Once the fertilization takes place, the zygote is implanted in the fallopian tube using the laparoscope.

Artificial Reproductive Technology: Ethics
There is always an ethical dilemma involved when it comes to human embryos. The procedures are to be conducted with the consent of the patient undergoing these procedures. One is supposed to treat the human embryos with respect and not just as a mass of tissue. The doctor should speak and help the participants understand each and every step taken during the procedure. They should carry out counseling for the participants and maintain records regarding these procedures. One is supposed to take consent from the participants in writing and ensure both the participant and her partner are informed about all aspects of the procedure. Doctors are also required to maintain total privacy and confidentiality about each participant. They should make a detailed report and maintain data about all the possible outcomes. Artificial reproductive technology ethics also call for respecting conscientious objects by the participants as well as any member of the staff, at any point of the treatment.

Artificial reproductive technology has helped many couples give birth to their biological child. Most of these children are born healthy babies and never face any health complications in the long run. If one is unable to conceive through the coital methods, then they should speak to a reproductive endocrinologist for further help through ART.