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What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

Starting a family is a deeply personal journey, but for many, it comes with unexpected challenges. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) offers hope to these individuals and couples facing obstacles on their path to parenthood. So, what is ART? While you may have heard of in vitro fertilization (IVF), it's just one piece of the puzzle (although it is a very important piece). ART encompasses a variety of techniques aimed at helping people conceive. Let’s break it down:

What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART, encompasses a range of procedures designed to aid individuals or couples in conceiving a child when natural conception proves challenging. The CDC defines ART as all fertility treatments involving the manipulation of eggs or embryos. This can include factors such as infertility, genetic disorders, or personal circumstances. 

ART procedures do not include treatments solely focused on manipulating sperm (like intrauterine insemination) or medication use solely aimed at stimulating egg production without the intent of egg retrieval. We'll explore the specific types of ART procedures in the sections below.


ART Techniques and Procedures

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Over 8 million babies in the US, accounting for about 2% of births, have been born using in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF involves the delicate process of surgically retrieving eggs from a woman's ovaries and then fertilizing them with sperm in a controlled laboratory environment. Once embryos form, they undergo careful monitoring before being either transferred back into the woman's uterus or generously donated to another hopeful individual or couple. 

There’s also two variations of IVF:


Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a specialized form of IVF that can be particularly beneficial for couples facing male infertility. During ICSI, a single sperm is directly injected into an egg to facilitate fertilization.


Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

Frozen embryo transfer (FET) involves transferring embryos that have been previously frozen during an IVF cycle into the uterus at a later stage. This approach offers flexibility in timing and can enhance the chances of a successful pregnancy by allowing for optimal preparation of the uterine lining.


Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is another common ART technique. Unlike IVF, IUI involves placing sperm directly into a woman's uterus during ovulation to enhance the chances of fertilization. 

IUI is often recommended for couples facing unexplained infertility, male factor infertility (typically due to low sperm count or poor sperm motility), or individuals and couples using donor sperm. The procedure is relatively simple and involves three main steps:

  1. Tracking ovulation to determine the most fertile period.
  2. Collecting and washing semen to ensure only the healthiest and most mobile sperm are used. This step is important for both optimizing the chances of successful fertilization and reducing discomfort during the procedure.
  3. Gently inserting the washed sperm directly into the uterus using a thin catheter. This process is similar to a routine pap smear and is performed after gently expanding the vaginal walls with a speculum.

At Kofinas Fertility, we typically combine our primary low-complexity fertility therapies, such as IUI and ovarian stimulation, to enhance your chances of achieving pregnancy.


Cryopreservation of Gametes and Embryos: Freezing Your Eggs

Cryopreservation or Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation (OTC) is the process of freezing and storage of gametes (sperm and eggs) or embryos for future use. In other words, freezing your eggs! This technique offers individuals and couples the flexibility to preserve their reproductive potential, whether for medical reasons, such as undergoing cancer treatment that may impact fertility or for personal reasons, such as delaying parenthood.


Third-Party Reproduction: Sperm/Egg Donation and Surrogacy

Third-party reproduction is when someone either donates their sperm or eggs or they carry a baby for someone who can't have a baby on their own. For individuals or couples unable to conceive using their own gametes or unable to carry a pregnancy to term, sperm or egg donation and surrogacy offer hope. 


Who Can Benefit from Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Procedures like IVF?

LGBTQ+ Couples: ART provides LGBTQ+ couples with a path to parenthood, breaking down barriers and offering inclusive options for conceiving and building their families.

Couples Facing Infertility Challenges: For couples grappling with the heartache of infertility, ART offers hope. Whether the challenge lies in unexplained infertility, male factor infertility, or other reproductive issues, ART procedures like IVF help overcome these obstacles.

Single Individuals: In a world where traditional family structures continue to evolve, single individuals find empowerment and fulfillment through ART. With the support of fertility specialists, they can embark on the journey of parenthood solo, fulfilling their lifelong dream of having a child.

Those with Genetic Disorders or Fertility Issues: There are countless individuals facing challenging fertility issues such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and fibroids. With advancements in genetic screening and diagnostic techniques, ART procedures offer a chance to conceive and carry out a healthy pregnancy, even in the face of genetic challenges. 


Help Getting Pregnant

​​If you’re trying to conceive, Kofinas Fertility Group can help you achieve your goal. Our award-winning doctors have decades of experience and use modern, effective treatments to achieve healthy pregnancies. Our minimally invasive procedures not only remove physical barriers to a healthy pregnancy, but we make sure that we optimize your reproductive health for the future. We do it all because that’s what it takes to give you the best opportunity of having a healthy, happy child. 


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