Artificial insemination or IUI
Also known as intrauterine insemination, this process involves the artificial insertion of male sperms into the woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The process is done during the ovulation period where a matured egg released from the ovary is ready to be fertilized. IUI helps couples with unexplained infertility issues or minor male infertility to conceive. The process is done during the normal menstrual cycle of the woman or combined with the Ovulation Induction (OI) process in case of irregular ovulation cycles. Repeated failed IVF attempts may call for IVF or ICSI treatments.
Ovulation Induction (OI)
It is another fertility treatment where medications are used to facilitate ovulation or regulate ovulation cycles to increase the chances of pregnancy through normal intercourse or artificial insemination. It can also be done to increase the number of eggs. Women with irregular menstrual cycles might need to go for this treatment.
ICSI or Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, another specialized IVF treatment facilitates fertilization in case of severe male infertility. A sperm is injected into the female egg in a laboratory to form the embryo. The best quality sperm is selected before it is injected into the cytoplasm of the female egg or oocyte. Since this is a highly technically advanced procedure, the costs associated with IVF are more. Unless there is a severe male infertility factor, ICSI has no specific advantage over IVF. Fertilization rates in this process range from 50-80%.
This is an additional procedure that might be needed for a couple undergoing IVF to increase the chances of pregnancy. Hatching involves breaking the thick outer shell of the embryo known as zona pellucida to get implanted into the uterus. Often, an excessively thick outer layer prevents it. A laser is applied to make a hole on the zona pellucida to make it feasible for hatching. Women aged above 37 years or with previous IVF failures may need assisted hatching.
Prei-mplantation genetic diagnosis is a screening process to determine any genetic disease or chromosomal disorder in the embryo done prior to embryo transfer. It gives doctors the option to pick the disease-free healthy embryo that would result in healthy babies. Diseases tested with PGD are Cystic fibrosis, Thalassemia, Myotonic Dystropy, Fragile X and Tay Sachs. This also helps in sex determination for couples looking for healthy gender balance in families.
Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) is done for detecting aneuploidy (a condition with additional or missing chromosomes) in embryos that may lead to miscarriage and implantation failure. PGS improves the success rate of pregnancy but it can be an expensive cost addition to IVF treatment. PGS is recommended in cases of severe male infertility or for women aged above 38-39 with previous records of miscarriage. Both PGD and PGS come under the umbrella term PGT or Preimplantation Genetic Testing.