What is Assisted Reproductive Technology?
It is a reproductive technology that is way out of infertility and enables giving birth. It is a fertility treatment that handles both- female egg and male sperm to form an embryo in an artificial environment. Further, that embryo is put back in the female womb.
The management of infertility includes- fertility counseling, lifestyle modification, medical or surgical treatment of the conditions involved, fertility medications, and Assisted Reproductive Technology such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization
(IVF), and Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). In recent years the main focus is on IVF and ICSI and their optimization to reduce the effects like multiple pregnancies.
Advantages of Assisted Reproductive Technology:
1. It helps patients who are unable to conceive due to blocked tubes in women, low ovarian reserve, male infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, and premature ovarian failure.
2. The In vitro fertilization (IVF) technique is used for the long term now, and has a safe record.
3. It helps single women who want to conceive and same-sex couples.
4. Embryos can be used for research and development, or by another couple. They can also be used to detect inherited diseases.
The disadvantage of Assisted Reproductive Technology:
1. side effects like ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) are most likely to develop.
2. Multiple pregnancies are one of the most seen side-effects of IVF. In those, there is the development of more than one embryo, which leads to multiple pregnancies and carries associated health risks to both mother and baby, after putting it back into the uterus. There are increased chances of premature labor, miscarriages, need for cesarean, stillbirths, and infant health problems with multiple pregnancies.
3. There are high chances of ectopic pregnancy with women having damaged fallopian tubes.
4. The high estrogen levels during IVF stimulation increase the risk of premature and low birth weight in babies, which leads to long-term health problems with kids.
5. The entire procedure can lead to emotional and psychological tolls, due to the usage of drugs.
6. These treatments can be expensive and some clients may also be concerned about ethical issues i.e. choosing one of the potential embryos and discarding others.
If advantages and disadvantages are to be weighed, it is necessary to review the efficacy and success rates of ART. The treatment success rate is related to various procedural factors including – the number of embryos that are being transferred, and at what stage they are being transferred.
The number of children giving birth by assisted reproductive technology has increased since the last four decades when the first child was born through IVF. Since then, the numbers are going high and the reasons are many.
1. Women’s fecundity decreases after the age of 35. So in this case, ART becomes a smart choice. Earlier, the mean delivery age across the world was 23.4 years and later after three decades, it increased to 28.6 years. This postponement of parenthood is due to varying factors like no suitable partner, work obligations, and extended education; and ART gives partners this choice.
2. The studies have revealed that earlier there was a misconception that ART is possible until menopause, and later after the age of 40, it might lead to complications. But, as further development occurred, the technology helped to raise hope of conceiving after a degree of age. The live birth after ART was 14.8% amongst the age group of 40- 44 years. Also, it was proven the decline in the success rate of ART has moved to higher age groups. The success rate of ART at the age of 30-35 years was 34% and that at age of 40-44 years was 14.8%. But there is an alternative to this. The “social egg freezing” can make it possible for women to save their eggs and later have their own biological child at a later age. The women’s eggs are cryopreserved until the age of 35, and later at any stage, they can be
conceived. This is to ensure a high success rate and healthy children.
3. The success rate also depends on the awareness amongst the people regarding ART. It was seen that most women were educated about the technique, and men knew less about the same. Mostly, the educated society knew about ART and not about rural areas. Further, according to the survey, people familiar with ART were least familiar with the consequences that may occur during the process, which became the reason for fewer success rates. Moreover, the knowledge of ART was dependent on sociodemographic factors like age, gender, education level, and precious child experience with ART.
4. The success rate depends on an increase in the correct diagnosis of the cause of infertility. This infertility may be from men or women, and proper analysis of its cause makes treatment more precise. Once the issue is known, first priority is given to nontechnological treatment, and if not, then proceeding with ART. The success rate is determined by a ratio-based approach by trying different methods based on predictive factors. Male factors are determined by sperm quality, age, occupational hazards, the environment of living, and some others.
5. Some studies have shown that obesity is another cause of genetic disease and is also associated with infertility. Male obesity was emphasized during the process of infertility treatment so as to facilitate the success rates of ART.
The success rate of Assisted Reproductive Technology is low regardless of the years given to the treatment. Further, the success rate is greater when years and repetition of treatment increase (5 years) and is closer to reality.