What you need to know about ART procedures:
Once you are ready to begin ART, follow the step by step guidelines below to ensure you are proceeding along an optimal path towards getting pregnant. These are general guidelines and may not be appropriate to your specific case. Follow these guidelines in line with the advice from your doctor, andrologist, reproductive endocrinologist, urologist, or gynecologist.
Choosing a Clinic
Before choosing an IVF center or a clinic, visit the website for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Techniques (SART). SART is the primary organization of professionals dedicated to the practice of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in the United States. It is important that you read and familiarize yourself with the SART website. SART has worked closely with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in compliance with the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992 (Wyden Act) in an effort to accurately reflect outcomes of the procedures in which more than 375 member practices, more than 85 percent of the ART clinics in USA are represented. SART collects de-identified birth outcome data from its member clinics through the internet, which facilitates direct transfer to the CDC and allows earlier dissemination of outcome reports to physicians, embryologists, and patients. For the latest SART-provided CDC report, see the '2012 Success Rates: National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports.”
Next, choose an IVF clinic most appropriate to you. A list of local SART member fertility centers is available on the SART website. Factors to consider before choosing an IVF clinic include: proximity, the type of services provided and pregnancy success rates. Some clinics are actively involved in fertility research. Ask to find out if you could benefit by participating in their research programs.
Choosing a Procedure
Both you and your partner should attend the initial fertility examination. Even though infertility was traditionally thought to be largely due to female factors, in almost half of the cases, infertility is due to male factors.
Once you have identified the right clinic for you, and have had initial consultations and examinations with them, you may be advised to consider one of 3 techniques or procedures to initiate pregnancy. These are 1) Intra-Uterine Insemination or IUI, 2) In Vitro Fertilization or IVF and 3) Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI. A very brief description is provided below but a detailed description is provided from the SART website. You may also find other internet sites useful such as WebMD and Mayo Clinic.
What is IUI?
This is a deliberate introduction of semen into a female for the purpose of fertilization, by means other than ejaculation directly into the vagina or oviduct. The procedure for intrauterine insemination is straightforward; it takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is usually done in a doctor's office or clinic. Sperm that have been "washed" and concentrated are placed directly in the uterus on the day after the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. There are various types of IUI procedures and your doctor will advise the most appropriate one for you.
What is IVF?
This is a process by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body (in vitro). During in vitro fertilization, mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are implanted in the uterus. IVF may be recommended if several rounds of IUI attempts have been unsuccessful.
SART now offers a an online Patient Predictor or IVF Success. The tool presents three outcomes based on age, parity, height and weight of the partners, and diagnoses:
These calculations are based on SART data collected between 2006 and 2012, which includes over 500,000 IVF cycles in over 320,000 patients. While the outcome of this predictor does not ensure that you will become pregnant, or will be unsuccessful with IVF, it does weigh your risks and give you an idea of what to expect.
What is ICSI?
In ICSI, a single sperm is selected and then injected directly into each mature egg. ICSI is often used when semen quality is a problem or if fertilization attempts during prior in vitro fertilization cycles failed.
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