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Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

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Frequently Asked Questions About Infertility

What are the different types of assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

Common methods of ART include:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)means fertilization outside of the body. IVF is the most effective ART. It is often used when a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked or when a man produces too few sperm. Doctors treat the woman with a drug that causes the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are removed from the woman. They are put in a dish in the lab along with the man's sperm for fertilization. After 3 to 5 days, healthy embryos are implanted in the woman's uterus.
  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)or 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. So fertilization occurs in the woman's body. Few practices offer GIFT as an option.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is often used for couples in which there are serious problems with the sperm. Sometimes it is also used for older couples or for those with failed IVF attempts. In ICSI, a single sperm is injected into a mature egg. Then the embryo is transferred to the uterus or fallopian tube.

ART procedures sometimes involve the use of donor eggs (eggs from another woman), donor sperm, or previously frozen embryos. Donor eggs are sometimes used for women who can not produce eggs. Also, donor eggs or donor sperm are sometimes used when the woman or man has a genetic disease that can be passed on to the baby.

For More Information ...

You can find out more about infertility by contacting the National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC) at (800) 994-9662 or the following organizations:

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Phone Number: (888) 463-6332
Internet Address: http://www.fda.gov

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Resource Center
Phone Number: (800) 762-2264
Internet Address: http://www.acog.org

American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Phone Number: (205) 978-5000
Internet Address: http://www.asrm.org/

Resolve: The National Infertility Association
Phone Number: (888) 623-0744
Internet Address: http://www.resolve.org

InterNational Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc.
Phone Number: (703) 379-9178
Internet Address: http://www.inciid.org/

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