Reproductive Health

Assisted Reproductive Technology

Infertility is the inability to conceive or give birth to a child. Infertility is on a gradual rise in India. Strange right since India is among the most populated countries in the world. However, reports suggest that infertility has become one of the common problems in India with over 10 to 14 percent of Indian population suffering from the pain of not having a child. Thanks to latest development in science and technology now it is possible for any couple to have a child with assisted reproductive technology.

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Infertility and its Treatment
Reproductive Health Problems and Strategies
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Cause of Infertility

India is witnessing a rise in infertility and in the last five years there is an increase of 20 to 30 percent in infertility. Infertility affects rural as well as an urban phenomenon. Moreover, it is just not restricted to women. Men infertility is equally possible. However, the social stigma in Indian society is largely ignored and the women are always blamed for unable to bear children.

So it is very important to be educated about infertility and its causes and how it is possible to solve infertility with the help of assisted reproductive technology. There a number of reasons for infertility including congenital, drugs, diseases, immunological or sometimes psychological. A person affected by any of the above reasons can suffer from infertility.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

Assisted Reproductive Technology is a number of different processes for the treatment of infertility. It helps to own pregnancy in different methods like in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, and fertility medications. ART falls into the category of field endocrinology and cryopreservation, reproductive technology and infertility treatments, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

ART also helps in solving abnormalities due to genetic issues in the fertile couples. Couples also choose ART if they are incongruous to particular communicable diseases. ART techniques help to reduce the infection risks at the time of pregnancy parturition and lactation.

Infertility is not an easy condition and is certainly very difficult to deal and face. However, there are many ART treatments available that help to deal with this situation and solve it. Various types of ART to solve infertility complications are

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
  • GIFT
  • ZIFT
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
  • Surrogacy
  • Donor Eggs

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is one of the most common types of ART techniques. Majority of the patients opt for IVF over other ART methods. In this method, a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm are undergoing combination in the laboratory. The next step is to transfer the embryo inside the woman’s uterus immediately after the fertilization of the embryo.

The method starts with the keeping track of the woman’s ovulatory process and stimulating it in order to remove an egg (ovum or ova) from the woman’s ovaries. The eggs are kept with sperm in a liquid for fertilization in a laboratory. The fertilization of egg results in the formation of zygote.

Furthermore, the zygote undergoes embryo culture for the duration of 2-6 days. Finally, transfer of the embryo culture in the same or another woman’s uterus takes place with the aim for the establishment of a successful pregnancy.

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

Earlier before the advancement of technology, Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) was very common for couples having infertility issues. In this method, eggs from woman and sperms from man undergo combination by employing laboratory techniques in the lab.

Later, the eggs are implanted in the fallopian tube of the female. The fertilization occurs inside the body of the women by applying GIFT treatments and not in the lab. Couples who want a natural treatment so that the fertilization and implantation process occurs inside the woman’s body opt for this form of assisted reproductive technology.

Reproductive Technology

(Source: explorebiotech)

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)

This is another form of assisted reproductive technology. ZIFT is similar to IVF and embryo transfer. However, the primary difference is that the embryo transfer after fertilization is done in the fallopian tube in case of ZIFT whereas in case of IVF the embryo is transferred in the uterus. The other name of this method is TET (tubal embryo transfer) due to the transfer of embryo directly into the tubes. The next step in the process is to transfer the fertilized egg in the fallopian tube at 24 hours.

Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection

It is a special form of in vitro fertilization technique that helps in the formation of an embryo in the man by direct injection of the sperm into the egg/ovum. In this technique, it is possible to directly inject a single sperm cell into the cytoplasm of the ova. This technique helps in the preparation of gametes and formation of embryos which is finally transferred into the uterus of the woman.

Reproductive Technology

Source: explorebiotech

Reproductive Technology

Source: Wikipedia

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine Insemination is the process of transfer of a man’s sperm into a woman’s uterus with the help of a long narrow tube. Moreover, it is possible to apply this method in combination with stimulation of ovulation. Together the processes can sometimes increase the chances of pregnancy.

The success rate of this technique completely depends upon the reason of infertility. Additionally, it is possible to increase the success rate of this method by nearly 20 percent if the inseminations take place on a monthly basis with fresh or frozen sperms. However, the increase of success rate depends upon woman’s age, fertility medications, infertility diagnosis and many other reasons.

Reproductive Technology

(Source: Wikimedia)

Surrogacy

Surrogacy refers to the process where another woman bears a baby of the couple facing infertility issues. The formation of the baby can take place either by fertilization of egg and sperm from the couple or from donor egg and sperm. Thus, we can say a surrogate act as the carrier of the baby.

Donor Eggs

This ART method is applicable when it is not possible to see the woman’s eggs or there is some defect in the formation of eggs. The eggs/ova of the donor is taken. Therefore, the donor eggs further undergo fertilization with the man’s sperm. Moreover, the embryo remains in incubating condition until the transfer of the embryo to the woman’s uterus. The same process is applicable using sperm from a donor if the same problem lies in male member of the couple.

As we can see, there are many options available for the treatment of infertility. However, these techniques require very high precision technique along with expensive instruments and experienced and trained professionals. The numbers of centres are gradually increasing but still, there are very few centres in the country. Moreover, many factors such as religious, social and emotional play an important role and sometime deterrent in the adoption of this method.

The main aim of the method is to have children. However, one thing that majority of the couple unable to have children overlook is that there are many orphan and destitute children in need of proper a life. These children will not even survive till maturity if they do not get a good life. Moreover, there are laws in India that help a couple to adopt these children.

The couples if opting for this option for parenthood, not only they will be able to have a child but they will also be able to give a proper and healthy life for the children who are in dire need for this.

Solved Question for You

Question: What is the primary difference between ICSI and classical IVF technology?

Solution: There are many differences between Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection and In vitro fertilization. However, the primary difference is in the insemination. ICSI requires a single sperm cell to fertilize with oocyte whereas the IVF require almost 50 to 100 thousand for fertilization with the oocyte. The reason for the difference is that IVF undergo acrosome reaction and it involves thousands of sperm cells. Fertilization leads to the formation of proembryo which is then transferred to the uterus for further development.

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