Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a general term that encompasses a wide range of methods used to assist in the treatment of infertility. When looking at ART, what are the options available to you and your partner?
All forms of ART involve medical intervention to some degree. Although many people refer to infertility treatment as IVF, IVF is only one method that may or may not be the most suitable option for all couples. A team of fertility specialists, embryologists and nurses help couples decide on the most suitable method for them to provide the best opportunity of conceiving a child.
In vitro fertilisation is one of the most common procedures available for those trying to conceive. Your egg is collected and placed into a lab dish with your partner’s sperm. Fertilisation is left to occur naturally. Once the embryo is three to five days old, it is inserted into your uterus.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is where your egg is collected and then injected with your partner’s sperm. Once fertilisation has occurred, the embryo is inserted into your uterus when it is between three and five days old.
Gamete intrafallopian transfer is less common that IVF or ICSI. With GIFT, your egg is collected and combined with your partner’s sperm. It is then surgically inserted into your fallopian tube where it fertilises naturally and then implants into your uterus naturally.
Zygote intrafallopian transfer is less commonly used today due to the success rates of IVF and ICSI. Similar to GIFT, this method combines your egg and partner’s sperm. The difference is that the egg is fertilised, either by the IVF or the ICSI method before it is implanted.
Donor egg or embryo
Women who are unable to conceive using their own egg can choose to use a donor egg. An egg donated by another woman is combined with your partner’s sperm and is then inserted into your uterus. Couples can use donor eggs, donor sperm or donor embryos.
Surrogacy involves another woman agreeing to carry your embryo or your donor embryo. The embryo is implanted into the surrogate woman’s uterus and your baby is given to you when it is born.