The Science Of Conception

When starting on the path to parenthood, most people expect the process to be easy. However, for many couples, getting pregnant isn’t so straightforward. In the US, approximately 9% of men and 11% of women will have trouble conceiving. When pregnancy doesn’t happen after more than a year of trying, some people turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART) for help.

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What is ART?

Acronyms abound in the fertility world, and ART is no exception. Assisted reproductive technology is an umbrella term that encompasses all fertility procedures where eggs or embryos are handled outside of the body. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most well-known ART procedure. During IVF, a woman is given medication to stimulate egg growth. The cycle is carefully monitored, and the eggs are retrieved once mature. Next, the eggs are combined with a sperm sample in the lab to create embryos. The resulting embryos can be used immediately as part of a fresh transfer or stored for use later.

IVF add-on services

For many women, IVF is incredibly effective, and a pregnancy occurs right away. The process isn’t so straightforward for other individuals, and additional services are needed. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is a great add-on option that allows couples to learn more about the embryos created before a transfer occurs. Each potential baby-to-be is screened for specific genetic conditions so the healthiest embryo can be transferred back into the uterus. Assisted hatching is another add-on service that can increase the chances of IVF success. The embryologist will create a small hole in the embryo's outer shell, which is thought to improve implantation rates and overall pregnancy success.

What if IVF doesn’t work?

In some cases, all the science in the world isn’t enough to achieve a successful pregnancy. When a woman cannot produce healthy embryos or when IVF fails, alternative options are available. In some cases, a donor egg is worth considering. Egg donors are typically young, healthy women who agree to provide an egg to a couple in need. Although the baby is not genetically related to the mom, the woman still has the chance to carry the pregnancy and bond with the baby in many other ways. Gestational surrogacy is another route couples can consider, where a third party woman carries the pregnancy. The egg and sperm can be provided by the potential parents or from donors, depending on the circumstances.

Your modern miracle

Getting pregnant isn’t always effortless, but scientific advancements in the fertility world make conception more likely than ever before. Even with an infertility diagnosis, women can become pregnant with the use of IVF. Add-on services like PGD and assisted hatching can improve the odds of success even further. If needed, a donor or gestational surrogate can help. A healthy, modern miracle is just an ART step away.

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