Reproductive Health - Notes | Class 12 | Part 3: Infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)



It is the inability to conceive or produce children even after 2 years of unprotected sexual cohabitation.

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


These are the technologies used to correct the infertility problems. 

Some of them are given below:

1. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) or 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).

ET is 2 types:
  • Zygote Intra Fallopian Transfer (ZIFT): Transfer of zygote or early embryo (with up to 8 blastomeres) into fallopian tube.
  • Intra Uterine Transfer (IUT): Transfer of embryo 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)

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 a laboratory procedure in which a single sperm (from male partner) is injected directly into an egg (from female partner). After fertilization, the embryo is implanted into the woman’s uterus.

4. Artificial insemination (AI) technique

The semen collected from husband or a donor is artificially introduced into the vagina or the uterus of the female.

Artificial insemination into the uterus is known as intra-uterine insemination (IUI).

This technique is useful for the male partner having inability to inseminate female or low sperm counts etc.

Problems of ART

  • It requires specialized professionals and expensive instrumentation. Therefore, these facilities are available only in very few centres.
  • Emotional, religious and social problems.
Legal adoption is a good method for couples looking for parenthood.


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