When pregnancy is achieved by completely or partially artificial means, that is, without coitus, it is said to have been achieved by ART or assisted reproductive technologies. There are a variety of technologies that come under this.
This procedure is used when the woman is able to produce a healthy egg but conception does not take place because of mild male infertility, scarred cervix in the woman, and even unexplained infertility. In this procedure the sperm is injected into the woman artificially. The woman might be asked to take medication to stimulate ovulation before the artificial insemination is undertaken.
This procedure is used when the man has a low sperm count, when the sperm have low motility, when the man is unable to get erections, or when the man suffers from retrograde ejaculation, that is, when the sperm are ejaculated into the bladder instead of out of the penis.
In all of these cases, the specially treated sperm are injected into the woman and fertilization then takes place naturally.
The success rate for this procedure is around 10- 14% per cent per cycle. The actual success depends on various factors such as the age of the woman, her health, and so on.
IVF or in vitro fertilization is an ART where the egg is extracted from the woman and placed with the sperm outside the body in a Petri dish or test tube. Once the egg has been fertilized, the embryo is implanted in the uterus and after that the pregnancy proceeds as usual. The four steps to this process are stimulation of ovaries, egg retrieval, fertilization, and embryo transfer.
While healthy sperms are capable of fertilizing the egg even outside the body of the woman, sometimes, nature requires additional help. In such cases, the sperms are examined and a healthy one is selected and injected into the egg for fertilization. This process is called ICSI or intra cytoplasmic sperm injection. In this procedure, the sperm is magnified up to 400 times to ensure that a healthy one is selected.
Under the IMSI procedure that is relatively new and offered only in a few centers, the sperm is magnified up to 7200 times and the healthiest or most morphologically normal one is picked and injected into the egg to form the embryo. This increases the chances of survival of the embryo and results in a healthy baby. This procedure reduces abortion rates and increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy to term.
The chances of success of ART procedures depend on multiple factors such as the skill of the fertility expert as well as the age of the woman undergoing the treatment. Other factors that affect the success rate are whether the egg is fresh or frozen and whether the sperm is fresh or frozen.
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