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Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) describes several different medical procedures that help a woman become pregnant. The most common type of ART is in vitro fertilization (IVF); during IVF, eggs and sperm are mixed in a laboratory dish to fertilize, and some of the fertilized eggs (zygotes) are then transferred to the woman's uterus.

Other types of assisted reproductive technologies include:

  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the injection of a single sperm into an egg. The fertilized egg is then placed in the woman's uterus or fallopian tube. Used with in vitro fertilization, ICSI is often a successful treatment for men with impaired sperm.
  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), which involves collecting eggs from the ovaries, then placing them into a thin flexible tube with the sperm. This is then injected into the woman's fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes place.
  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), which combines IVF and GIFT. Eggs and sperm are mixed outside of the body. The fertilized eggs (zygotes) are then returned to the fallopian tubes, through which they travel to the uterus.

Last Revised: December 7, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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