Infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)


Infertility is the inability of male or female to produce children.

The reasons for this may be physical, congenital, diseases, drugs, immunological or even psychological. 

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are the modern techniques for the treatment of Infertility. Some techniques are given below:

1. In vitro fertilisation (IVF– test tube baby programme):

In this method, ova from the wife/donor and sperms from the husband/donor are collected and are induced to form zygote under simulated conditions in the laboratory. This is followed by Embryo transfer (ET). It is 2 types:
  • Zygote Intra Fallopian Transfer (ZIFT): It is the transfer of zygote or early embryos (with up to 8 blastomeres) into fallopian tube.

  • Intra Uterine Transfer (IUT): It is the transfer of embryos with more than 8 blastomeres into the uterus.
Embryo formed by in vivo fertilisation (fertilisation within the female) is also used for such transfer to assist those females who cannot conceive.

2. Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT): 

It is the transfer of an ovum from a donor into the fallopian tube of another female who cannot produce ovum, but can provide suitable environment for fertilization and development.

3. Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): 

It is the a laboratory procedure in which a single sperm (from male partner) is injected directly into an egg (from female partner). Then the fertilised egg is implanted into the woman’s uterus.

4. Artificial insemination (AI) technique:

The semen collected from the husband or a healthy donor is artificially introduced into the vagina or the uterus (IUI – intra-uterine insemination) of the female.
This technique is useful for the male partner having inability to inseminate female or low sperm counts etc.

5. Surrogacy: 

Here, a woman (surrogate mother) bears a child for a couple unable to produce children, because the wife is infertile or unable to carry.
The surrogate is impregnated either through artificial insemination or through implantation of an embryo produced by in vitro fertilisation.

Problems of ART
  • It requires high precision handling by specialized professionals and expensive instrumentation. Therefore, these facilities are available only in very few centres. 

  • It has emotional, religious and social problems.
Legal adoption is one of the best methods for couples looking for parenthood.

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