Other assisted reproductive techniques related to IVF
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)
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.
Egg freezing or mature oocyte cryopreservation is a procedure to preserve a woman’s fertility for future pregnancy. Matured eggs are retrieved from the ovaries after a series of medications which is then frozen to subzero temperature, a process known as vitrification. High concentration of cryoprotectants is used to prevent the formation of ice crystals on eggs. Women planning to have a child at the later age or undergoing cancer treatments or suffering from any disorder that can affect fertility can opt for egg freezing.