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What is assisted reproduction? Assisted reproduction refers to a number of advanced techniques that aid fertilization.

These techniques are often used for women who have irreversible damage to their fallopian tubes or cervical mucous problems. It can also benefit couples with IVF IVF is the most well known of assisted reproduction techniques. In this method, the woman takes fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries to produce more eggs. The physician then retrieves one or more of the eggs by laparoscopy or by passing a needle through the vaginal wall. The partner's sperm is then mixed with the eggs in a petri dish, and fertilization may take place. If fertilization occurs, the embryo is allowed to develop outside the womb for a few days. Then it is implanted in the lining of the woman's uterus with a small plastic tube. Most centers now place two to four embryos in the womb in the hope that one will burrow into the lining and begin to develop normally. Any leftover embryos are frozen to be used later, should the first IVF procedure fail to work. IVF increases the risk of multiple births. GIFT GIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure which involves removing a womans eggs, mixing them with sperm and immediately placing them into your fallopian tube. One of the main differences between this procedure and in vitro fertilization (IVF) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) procedures is that the fertilization process takes place inside the fallopian tubes rather than inside the laboratory. You must have healthy tubes for GIFT to work. How is GIFT performed? GIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure that involves the following steps: A womans ovaries are stimulated with medications to increase the probability of producing multiple eggs. Eggs are collected through an aspiration procedure. Three to four eggs are immediately mixed with about 200,000 mobile sperm and placed in a special catheter. The mixture of eggs and sperm are transferred through a laparoscopic procedure. The catheter is placed in the fallopian tube and the egg/sperm mixture is injected. The last step is to watch for early pregnancy symptoms. Your fertility specialist will probably use a blood test to determine if pregnancy has occured.

ZIFT ZIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure similar to in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer with the difference being that the fertilized embryo is transferred into the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Because the fertilized egg is transferred directly into the tubes, the procedure is also referred to as tubal embryo transfer (TET). This procedure can be more successful than gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) because your physician has a greater chance of insuring that the egg is fertilized. The woman must have healthy tubes for ZIFT to work. The fact that ZIFT transfers a fertilized egg directly into the fallopian tubes versus a mixture of sperm and eggs, is the main difference between ZIFT and GIFT. How is ZIFT performed? ZIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure that involves the following steps: A womans ovaries are stimulated with medications to increase the probability of producing multiple eggs. Eggs are collected through an aspiration procedure. The eggs are fertilized in a laboratory just like in the IVF procedure. The fertilized eggs are transferred through a laparoscopic procedure. The catheter is placed deep in the fallopian tube and the fertilized eggs are injected. The last step is to watch for early pregnancy symptoms. The fertility specialist will probably use a blood test to determine if pregnancy has occurred.

ICSI Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) involves the direct injection of sperm into eggs obtained from in vitro fertilization (IVF). How is ICSI performed? There are basically five simple steps to ICSI which include the following: The mature egg is held with a specialized pipette. A very delicate, sharp, and hollow needle is used to immobilize and pick up a single sperm. This needle is then carefully inserted through the shell of the egg and into the cytoplasm of the egg. The sperm is injected into the cytoplasm, and the needle is carefully removed. The eggs are checked the following day for evidence of normal fertilization. Once the steps of ICSI are complete and fertilization is successful, the embryo transfer procedure is used to physically place the embryo in the woman's uterus. Then it is a matter of watching for early pregnancy symptoms. The fertility specialist

may use a blood test or ultrasound to determine if implantation and pregnancy has occurred. FASIAR Follicle aspiration sperm injection and assisted follicular rupture (FASIAR) is an infertility treatment that tends to be less expensive than traditional assisted reproductive procedures. It's one of the newer infertility treatments available and involves removing one or more eggs from a woman's body into a syringe containing sperm. The mixture is then immediately injected back into the fallopian tubes.

The Process
FASIAR requires egg development to be stimulated just like most other assisted reproductive technology. The fertility drugs used contain hormones called gonadotropins, specifically the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). By raising the hormone levels of both these hormones in a woman's body to higher than what is produced naturally, the ovaries work extra hard to mature and release more eggs in a single cycle. The eggs are already there since every girl is born with a set number of eggs to last her lifetime. The eggs are just not mature or some may not be healthy enough end in a properly developing embryo. The development of the eggs is closely monitored just like other fertility treatments such as GIFT and ZIFT. Just before the egg is released, the physician punctures the egg containing follicles with a thin needle after using an ultrasound to locate them. The doctor suctions the fluid and eggs into a syringe already containing the partner's sperm. The sperm is washed so that only the healthiest are available for possible fertilization. The sperm and egg mix is then immediately injected back into the woman's body through or near the ruptured follicle. The egg is outside the body for only seconds and the entire procedure can be performed within minutes.