ART encompasses all techniques involving direct manipulation of oocytes or embryos outside the human body, the two commonest terms coming under its gamut would be IVF and ICSI.
Since the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the field of ART has grown by leaps and bounds with exciting developments coming to the fore every year, all aimed at making the process safer for the mother.
IVF - In vitro fertilisation is the process where the eggs and sperms are cultivated in the laboratory to form embryos which are then replaced in the uterus of the prospective mother, it involves four basic steps:
Ovarian Stimulation: The lady is given gonadotropin injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce more number of eggs than they would naturally. She then undergoes follicular monitoring by ultrasound to assess the response to stimulation.
Ovum Pick Up: the stimulated follicles are then aspirated under transvaginal ultrasound guidance, under IV sedation in the theatre and the retrieved oocytes are collected.
Fertilisation: The eggs are incubated along with the prepared semen sample of the husband. This is then monitored every day for signs of fertilisation and embryonic cell division.
Embryo Transfer: the incubated embryos are transferred back into the uterine cavity under ultrasound guidance. ICSI-Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection: This procedure differs only in the method of fertilisation.
Instead pf leaving it to the process of natural selection in this we select one sperm and inject it directly into one egg using a micromanipulator, other procedures, coming under ART would include, assisted hatching-a procedure where a hole is created in the outer layer of the embryo called the zona pellucida, enabling it to 'hatch' more easily and implant in the uttering lining.
Verification -The latest technique of freezing oocytes or embryos which has given very good success rates and hence revolutionised the practice of ART.
Third Party ART-Involving the donation of sperms, eggs or embryos where there is a problem of the gametes of one or both the partners. Surrogacy or gestational carrier is where a third person, another lady, carries the child for the couple.
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