Assisted Reproductive Technology: A Boon for Couples Facing Fertility Issues
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) can help to achieve your dream of having your own baby. It is one of the widely used technique to treat infertility in couples. The treatment consists of in-vitro fertilization-embryo transfer, zygote intrafallopian transfer, gamete intrafallopian transfer, and frozen embryo transfer. As per analysts, the assisted reproductive technology sector is booming and will reach newer heights in future due to increased demand and novel technological advances.
Around 13-14% of reproductive-aged couples suffer from problems related to infertility. Infertility occurs when a woman is unable to conceive after 1 year of properly timed, unprotected intercourse. With numerous innovative advances in science and technology, researchers and medical scientists have invented various treatments to treat infertility and help women conceive. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is one of the widely used technique to treat infertility which includes in-vitro fertilization-embryo transfer, zygote intrafallopian transfer, gamete intrafallopian transfer, and frozen embryo transfer.
What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?
ART consists of fertility treatments that work on both a woman's egg as well as a man's sperm. In this treatment, the eggs from a woman's body are first removed and then mixed with sperm to form embryos. Later, the embryos are placed in the woman's womb. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the highly effective and widely used types of ART.
In some cases, while performing ART treatment, donor sperm, donor eggs or previously frozen embryos are used. Additionally, this treatment can take-in a gestational carrier or surrogate. A female who conceives with sperm from the male partner of the couple is called a surrogate. On the other hand, a female who conceives with an egg from the female partner and the sperm from the male partner is called a gestational carrier.
Fertility therapies give rise to various emotions. Long waiting time, insecurity & uncertainty, and the requirements of the treatment can result in frustration, misperception, and resentment. Great care and support is required while undergoing fertility treatment. According to doctors, the more you understand about the tests and treatments, the less nervous and concerned you will feel about your condition.
Advanced infertility techniques require time and energy as well as financial and emotional assurance. Most of the fertility centers use a multi-disciplinary expert team. In the course of your treatment period, numerous team members, together with your individual doctor, will contribute to your care.
Types of ART:
From simple interventions like tablets to help a woman ovulate to more complicated techniques such as IVF, there are various types of fertility treatments available under ART. Based on the cause of infertility, the following types of treatment can be recommended.
- Ovulation induction (OI): In this treatment, medicines are used to cause or manage ovulation or surge the number of eggs formed during a cycle to raise the chances of pregnancy.
- Artificial insemination or IUI: In this treatment, a healthy sperm is inserted inside a woman's uterus to facilitate fertilization.
- In-vitro fertilisation (IVF): In this treatment, a combination of drugs and surgical techniques are used for fertilizing an egg, and then the fertilized egg is implanted in the woman’s uterus.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): In this treatment, a single sperm is directly injected into a mature egg. This technique is a specialized form of IVF that is used mainly for the treatment of acute cases of male-factor infertility.
- Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI): In this treatment, a high powered microscope is used to select and extract the best sperm cells which are then used in a traditional ICSI treatment.
- Donor conception Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT): This technique involves first going through the procedure of ICSI or IVF to form embryos. After a few days, the doctor takes some cells from each embryo for testing to verify whether they have the right number of chromosomes. This technique helps in identifying and transfer only chromosomally normal embryos.
- Surrogacy: In this technique, the intended couple appoints a gestational surrogate who will carry and give birth for their baby. Usually, this technique is used when intended parents are unable to conceive.
About 99% of ART cycles performed are in-vitro fertilization-embryo transfer. Until now, the in-vitro fertilization-embryo transfer technique has helped several couples conceive successfully. Usually, ART treatment is recommended when other treatments like intrauterine insemination fail to show desired outcomes or when there is severe endometriosis, major male factor infertility or tubal obstruction.
What are the Risks Associated with ART?
Perinatal threats that might be linked with assisted reproductive technology (ART) and ovulation induction are prematurity, perinatal death, low birth weight, placenta previa, multifetal gestations, abruptio placentae, small for gestational age, cesarean delivery, preeclampsia, and birth defects. The most common problem of ART is multiple pregnancies. It can be avoided or reduced by limiting the number of embryos that are placed inside the woman's womb.
Future Scope of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Treatment after COVID-19 Outbreak
The sudden rise of COVID-19 has led to the shutdown of fertility clinics in different COVID-19 regions. Due to this, the on-going or upcoming ART treatments were kept on hold for time being during the lockdown period. However, after easing of lockdown restrictions, fertility clinics have resumed their functioning by abiding to the government rules for safety and hygiene. As per a report by research dive, the global market for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is anticipated to garner $56.3 billion by 2027. This is mainly because of the growing cases of infertility worldwide and growing technological advancements in assisted reproductive technology. Hence, the coming years are sure to surge the growth of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) market and offer effective treatment for couples facing fertility issues.