Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has enabled millions of infertile couples worldwide to have children. ART refers to manipulation of eggs, sperm and embryos outside the body in order to achieve a pregnancy. Intrauterine insemination (IUI), which involves only the manipulation of sperm, is considered by some but not all as type of ART.
The types of assisted reproductive technology include:
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
IVF involves the joining of eggs and sperm in a laboratory dish and transfer of the resulting embryos into the womb. IVF is by far the most commonly used form of ART and is practically synonymous with the term ART. Visit our IVF page for more details.
Intracystoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI is a variant in IVF in which a single sperm is injected into each egg. It is done for semen abnormalities and couples who have failed fertilization.
Donor egg is a variant used in couples in the which the female partner has very poor quality eggs (often due to age) and requires eggs from a younger woman in order to have a normal conception.
Gestational carrier is what most people think of when they think of surrogacy. IVF is done as usual on the intended parents, but the pregnancy is implanted into the womb of a woman who will carry the pregnancy and give birth to the child for them.
Gamete intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
GIFT was commonly done in the past, particularly for women who wanted to do IVF but avoid conception outside the body. The eggs are stimulated and harvested just like in IVF, but the eggs and sperm are placed into the fallopian tube where fertilization happens. With the increasing success rate of IVF, GIFT is rarely done nowadays.
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) and Tubal Embryo Transfer (TET)
ZIFT is also similar to IVF but involves transfer of the fertilized egg (the zygote) into the fallopian tube at the time of laparoscopy. In the past, like GIFT, ZIFT had a higher pregnancy rate than IVF. With the advent of improved embryo transfer techniques and better laboratories, ZIFT has also become obsolete. TET refers to the same procedure as ZIFT but with transfer done at a later date.