Reproductive System

Sexual Response and Conception

How do the various ART methods differ?

One of the most successful and effective ART methods is in vitro fertilization (IVF). It may be used when the woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or when the man produces too few sperm. The woman takes a drug that causes the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are removed and put in a dish in the lab along with the man’s sperm for fertilization. After three to five days, healthy embryos are implanted in the woman’s uterus.

Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), also called Tubal Embryo Transfer, is similar to IVF. Fertilization occurs in the laboratory. Then the very young embryo is transferred to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) involves transferring eggs and sperm into the woman’s fallopian tube. Fertilization occurs in the woman’s body. It is not as common a procedure as either IVF or ZIFT.

Couples in which there are serious problems with the sperm or who have been unsuccessful with IVF may try intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). In ICSI, a single sperm is injected into a mature egg. Then the embryo is transferred to the uterus or fallopian tube.

There are two different approaches to artificial insemination. Either the sperm is deposited next to the cervix (left) or injected into the uterine cavity (right). (From Pilliterri, Adele. Maternal and Child Nursing. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2003).

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