Assisted reproductive technology (ART)

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) refers to medical procedures to address infertility. According to the CDC, ART includes all fertility treatments in which eggs and embryos are handled (such as in vitro fertilization). However, many in the fertility field also consider intrauterine insemination (IUI) and medicated cycles to be ART.

What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a term that refers to medical procedures designed to address infertility. Common procedures include intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and the cryopreservation (freezing) of sperm, eggs, and embryos.

The CDC states that ART procedures include all fertility treatments in which eggs or embryos are handled or manipulated. Specifically, ART procedures involve surgically removing eggs from a patient’s ovaries and combining them with sperm in the laboratory to create embryos. In other words, ART bypasses natural conception by achieving fertilization in a laboratory environment, and then returning the fertilized egg to the patient’s uterus. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most commonly used type of ART.

Assisted reproductive technology for male fertility

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) can help infertile individuals and families looking to conceive achieve their goals. ART procedures are popular and effective treatment methods for subfertile patients, including those with male-factor infertility.

The most popular techniques to deal with male infertility using ART procedures include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). ART procedures help deliver more functional sperm closer to the oocyte to promote fertilization. While IVF can be used to treat male infertility, many ART centers are turning to ICSI as a primary treatment for male infertility. 

History of assisted reproductive technology

ART procedures have been used in the United States for nearly four decades. Doctors Howard and Georgianna Jones pioneered IVF in the United States, announcing the very first American IVF baby in 1981.

Elizabeth Jordan Carr was the first American-born baby using IVF with the help of ovarian stimulation by human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). The introduction of ICSI 11 years later, in 1992, revolutionized the treatment of male infertility, allowing couples experiencing male-factor infertility to get pregnant with biological children. 

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