Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART)

What is Couple-Infertility?

After a year of regular sexual relations without achieving pregnancy, you might begin to suspect that there is some kind of problem. For older women (after 35 years) we recommend that you go for a consultation when six months of sexual relations have failed to result in a pregnancy.

It is important to remember that the human species does not have a high reproductive potential. There is around a 25% chance of becoming pregnant during sex when the woman is ovulating. Approximately 1 in 6 couples of fertile  age will be affected by sterility. These statistics apply to women below the age of 35. Beyond that age reproductive potential decreases, and after the age of 40 the chances of becoming pregnant are less than 10% each month.

The tests for diagnosing infertility include a complete medical history and physical examination of both members of the couple. In the case of the woman, the basic tests are a basal hormone study, an ultrasound scan and a hysterosalpingography, although the range of tests can be extended depending on the patient. For the man it is necessary to assess semen quality in the man via a seminogram test.

The causes of infertility may originate in the man (30%), in the woman (30%) or in both (40%). In some cases, it may not be possible to explain the cause.

When with regular sexual relations it is not possible to achieve a pregnancy,medical and laboratory tecniques,can facilitate the course of fertilization.

This technology is named Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

The first ART level is Artificial Insemination (AI).

Artificial Insemination consists of depositing a semen sample, which has been prepared in advance in the laboratory, inside the woman’s uterus in order to increase the potential of the spermatozoa and improve the chances of the egg being fertilised. In this way, the distance separating the spermatozoon and the ovum is shortened, and the process whereby these come together is facilitated.

The second level of ART is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

In Vitro Fertilisation involves uniting the ovum with the spermatozoon in the laboratory – in vitro – in order to obtain fertilised embryos for transfer to the woman’s uterus. The fertilisation of the ova can be carried out by means of the conventional IVF technique or by IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) . This involves the introduction/injection of a single sperm into the oocyte. ICSI can be done with very low quality semen samples. This method is especially suitable for men whose sperm quality or quantity is low and even for azoospermic patients. 

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