For many couples, infertility is a misfortune - one that involves a large extent of emotional pain, grief and feelings of remorse and inadequacy. However, a diagnosis of infertility doesn't automatically mean that you and your significant other will not ever have a child of your own. It only means you have reduced potential to get pregnant. You and your spouse can still have a baby, even one that is genetically relatedto at least one of you, through a number of assisted reproduction technologies or ARTs. Although ARTs are often invasive, costly, and are surrounded by controversies, these are viable alternatives for childless couples. Below is a rundown on popular ARTs.
In vitro fertilization
Commonly known as IVF, this treatment is one of the most widely used assisted reproductive treatments today. IVF is a treatment which involves letting the fertilization of the couple's egg and sperm cells occur outside the female body. This means that, the eggs and sperms are placed together in a dish within a special laboratory. After fertilization, the resulting embryo is then put into the recipient's uterus.
Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection
This is done by putting the the male gamete inside the egg cell through a microneedle, instead of placing many sperm cells around the ovum, which is the method used in IVF. This is most often used when the father’s sperm count and motility is low.Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) Like IVF, these treatments entail getting an egg cell from the woman, fertilizing it, and then placing the resultant embryo inside the uterus. Instead of transferring three to five day-old embryos, ZIFT implants fertilized eggs, called zygotes, while GIFT, introduces a mixture of the husband's sperm cells and wife's egg cells into the woman’s fallopian tubes. Since GIFT and ZIFT both entail surgery, and because they have lower success rate in contrast to IVF, they are rarely done today.
Donated sperm or ova
If a person can't produce eggs or sperm cells, or is diagnosed with an inheritable disease, sperm and egg cells from other people may be used to create an embryo. The healthy resultant embryos are then placed into the recipient’s womb.
Surrogacy via a gestational carrier
This ART is an option for women whose medical condition makes pregnancy and childbirth dangerous or impossible, or when a female doesn't have ovaries or uterus because of congenital absence or surgical excision. This ART is preferred to adoption because the child is genetically linked to at least one intended parent.
Surrogacy arrangements are complex, and they are linked with many medical, financial, emotional, and even legal issues. However, the majority of these issues can be managed appropriately by working with a reputable surrogacy agency.
Many couples suffer from involuntary childlessness, but thanks to various artificial reproduction technologies, these childless couples can still have children of their own. Click here to find about ovum donation.