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What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

Assisted reproductive technology, or ART, is the most progressive treatment for infertility that incorporates gamete (sperm and egg) evaluations and therapies that produce pregnancies outside the body with specific criterions that enhance success for pregnancy and normal offspring.

Dr. John K. Jain, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) refers to a variety of treatments used to enhance fertility. These range from simple procedures such as artificial insemination, to more complex therapies such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). During IVF, eggs are retrieved from the ovary and fertilized in the laboratory in order to create embryos that, after a period of development in a lab culture dish, are ultimately transferred back to the patient.

Other variations of IVF include transfer of eggs and sperm to the fallopian tube (gamete intrafallopian transfer or GIFT), transfer of fertilized eggs to the fallopian tube (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer or ZIFT), egg donation whereby an egg donor undergoes IVF to create embryos for intended parent(s), and surrogacy where a woman carries the pregnancy for the intended parent(s).

There are also ART procedures used treat sperm issues. These include intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) whereby one sperm is injected into the egg using a fine glass needle and procedures to surgically harvest the sperm from the epididymis (MESA) or the testicle (TESE).

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a group of different methods used to help infertile couples. ART works by removing eggs from a woman's body. The eggs are then mixed with sperm to make embryos. The embryos are then put back in the woman's body.

Success rates vary and depend on many factors. Some things that affect the success rate of ART include:

  • Age of the partners
  • Reason for infertility
  • Clinic
  • Type of ART
  • If the egg is fresh or frozen
  • If the embryo is fresh or frozen

The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) collects success rates on ART for some fertility clinics. According to the 2012 CDC report on ART, the average percentage of ART cycles that led to a live birth was:

  • 40 percent in women under the age of 35
  • 31 percent in women aged 35-37
  • 22 percent in women aged 38-40
  • 12 percent in women aged 41-42

ART can be expensive and time-consuming. But it has allowed many couples to have children that otherwise would not have been conceived. The most common complication of ART is multiple fetuses. But this is a problem that can be prevented or minimized in several different ways.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

Dr. Creighton E. Likes, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

ART, as its name implies, is using medications and/or laboratory techniques and procedures to help a couple obtain a pregnancy. There is a wide range of ART, from office insemination to in vitro fertilization, depending upon the diagnosis of the infertile couple.

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.