Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Pathways
Infertility can occur when any of the factors that have a role in human reproduction do not function properly.
Many couples have difficulty conceiving and face challenges in their effort to become pregnant and have a baby. You probably have many questions and may be confused about why this is happening to you. You’re not alone. Human reproduction is a complex process. The successful fertilization of an egg by a sperm depends on many factors, including the health of the man’s sperm, the condition of a woman’s eggs and uterus, a woman’s hormonal environment, or the ability of an embryo (the fertilized egg) to become implanted in a woman’s uterus. Infertility can occur when any of the factors that have a role in human reproduction do not function properly.
Making intelligent decisions regarding your treatment options often requires patience, communication, trust and a basic understanding how human reproduction works. In many cases, couples have not had to consider these issues since high school biology class.
Types of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)
In Vitro Fertilization – is commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. When the IVF procedure is successful, the process is combined with a procedure known as embryo transfer, which is used to physically place the embryo in the uterus.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – In this procedure a small glass needle is used to inject a single sperm directly into the egg. ICSI is most commonly used when the man has a low sperm count or poor sperm quality. However, it can be used for other conditions as well. For men who don’t produce any sperm in their ejaculate but are able to produce sperm in the testes, doctors can also now remove sperm directly from the testes using an outpatient surgical procedure. The retrieved sperm can then be used in the ICSI procedure to inseminate the egg.
Assisted Hatching (AH) – This procedure is performed prior to the transfer of embryos at an early stage of development in IVF. Immediately prior to transfer, the embryologists make a small hole in the outer layer of the embryo, called the zona pellucida, using a solution or laser. This procedure can make it easier for some embryos to implant.
Cryopreservation – A couple with extra high-quality embryos may opt to freeze and store them for use in future attempts to achieve a pregnancy. This can eliminate the need to repeat the egg retrieval process.
Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) – This is a special procedure in which embryos are evaluated for genetic abnormalities prior to being transferred into the uterus during IVF. PGD can be useful for couples that have a known risk of passing on an inherited disease to a child. It is also an option for couples that have had multiple miscarriages, or for couples that are unable to achieve a pregnancy after several attempts at IVF or are at risk for producing a large number of abnormal embryos.
Oocyte (Egg) Donation – Egg quality declines as a woman ages. Because of advancing age or some other health factors, many women are unable to produce healthy eggs or don’t have functioning ovaries. With oocyte donation, a young woman donates her eggs to another couple. The donor eggs are combined with sperm in the laboratory and the resulting embryos are transferred to the recipient using IVF. For many women, using eggs donated by another woman to create an embryo can make it possible to experience pregnancy and childbirth.
John P. Carnesecchi and his partner have a baby girl using a gestational carrier and in vitro fertilization. John lends his personal experience with parenthood planning to the clients he serves while always respecting the value system and needs of his clients first. Combining his personal experience with his professional training as a family and couple therapist, John helps his client’s consider all practical and emotional aspects while providing sound advice, information and resources to get on the right parenthood path for you.