Fertility Treatments

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Introduction
Infertility or primary infertility refers to the inability of a couple to get pregnant (the cause notwithstanding) following a year of having unprotected sex and without using any methods of birth control. This is different from secondary infertility which refers to the inability to maintain a pregnancy to term. Infertility or primary infertility affects approximately 6.1 million individuals in the US, approximately 10 percent of males and females of reproductive age. Due to this problem, medical practitioners have developed assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) or treatment methods to help women in becoming pregnant (Illmensee et al, 2009). ARTs is a general term that is used in reference to the methods utilized in achieving pregnancy in case of infertility by artificial or partly artificial methods. While they are primarily used as infertility treatment methods, some forms can be utilized in fertile individuals for other reasons like genetic. Others are used for discordant couples for some communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS to lower the risk of the baby being infected by the disease. There are various ART, and this paper will discuss in vitro fertilization (IVF); Intrauterine Insemination (IUI); intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI); and assisted hatching (Speroff and Fritz, 2005). In vitro fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a treatment for infertility commonly used when most of the other means of treatment for infertility have failed. It is a process that involves fertilization of the egg by a sperm in vitro. This means that the egg is fertilized outside the woman’s body. This process requires close monitoring of the ovulation process, obtaining an ovum from the woman’s ovaries, and then fertilizing it using a sperm in a lab. When the normal cycle of the woman is monitored for the ovum to be obtained naturally, the process is referred to as natural cycle IVF. Once the egg is fertilized outside the body, the zygote is transplanted into the uterus with the intention of getting a successful pregnancy and development of a baby. While this process has always been a controversial method of treating infertility, it has been successful in various cases. The first successful case was the birth of Louise Brown, in 1978. This was popularly known as a “test tube baby.” This baby was born out of natural cycle IVF. This treatment was developed by Robert G. Edwards, who later received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010 (Swain and Smith, 2011). The term in vitro is a Latin term which means in glass. The term emerged as most of the lab tests that involve cultivation of tissues from the body of a live organism are carried out with the use of glass containers like test tubes, beakers, or petri dishes (Swain and Smith, 2011). The term “test tube babies” emanates from the fact that the fertilization takes place outside the body, in the lab, and with the use of tube-shaped containers made of glass or plastic resin, known as called test tubes. These containers are common in chemistry and biology labs. Nevertheless, in vitro fertilization normally happens in containers that are shallower known as Petri dishes. IVF is used as a treatment for fertility in various cases. Some of the situations in which it helps include incase a woman has defects of the fallopian tube that make it hard for fertilization in vivo; and male fertility in cases where there are problems with sperm quality (it can be used incase a sperm has difficulties reaching the egg cell). This method can also be used with surrogacy or egg donation. This is where the person giving the egg is not the one who will carry the baby (Swain and Smith, 2011). IVF is a very expensive procedure. As a result, it is normally discouraged the first method of treating infertility. It is thus recommended that the method is used after the less treatment procedures have failed, or when it is proven that they cannot work. In the United States,...
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