Infertility Q&A (cont.)
Q. What other types of ART are being used?
A. IVF is the most common type of ART and there are other variations on the
basic procedure, some of which remain controversial. People should learn about
both the benefits and risks of any medical procedure.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
(ICSI): A single sperm is injected into an egg. If the egg is fertilized and
develops normally, it is then transferred to the uterus. This has been a
significant advance in treating men with low sperm count or disorders related to
sperm movement. Couples who undergo the procedure should be aware that if their
infertility is caused by a genetic defect, that defect could be passed to the
- Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis: An individual cell from a growing embryo is removed and used for
culture: A blastocyst, a developed embryo, is cultured
and transferred to the uterus after five or six days, compared with the three
days for typical in vitro fertilization.
- Cryopreservation: Human eggs and
embryos are frozen so that they can be kept
viable. They are stored in liquid
nitrogen at 320 degrees below zero.
- Assisted hatching: An opening is created in the egg shell surrounding the embryo
to help it implant in the uterus. This
procedure has not been shown to be beneficial for everyone undergoing ART. Those
who may benefit from assisted hatching include couples who have preserved
embryos, their own or donated, by cryopreservation, couples in which the mother
is of an advanced age, or couples with a history of multiple failed IVF
The FDA does not regulate individual ART procedures, but the agency
has cleared devices for use in ART procedures. Examples are biopsy devices, dissection needles, sperm and embryo delivery catheters, and solutions used to
process and maintain sperm, eggs, and embryos.