Assisted Reproduction Technology (A.R.T.)

An A.R.T treatment cycle comprises 3 phases:

1) The ovulation induction or ovarian stimulation phase where the growth of immature eggs in the ovary is tracked using hormone monitoring and ultrasound imaging. This phase includes the use of drugs to take control of ovarian physiology and stimulate the development of several eggs in a controlled manner. However, mild or no ovarian stimulation can also be used if so desired. The growth or stimulation phase occurs in the first part of the menstrual cycle, although some drugs may be administered in the late part of the previous menstrual cycle in order to take control of ovarian physiology. The whole phase lasts between 2 - 4 weeks depending upon the form of treatment employed. Follow the Ovarian Stimulation link for more details about the different forms of ovarian stimulation. The Assisted Reproduction Technology phase begins around mid cycle and can take up to 6-7 days in the case of blastocyct culture or 3-4 days for cleavage stage embryo transfer. This where one of the following procedures will be employed.

2.1) Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI)
2.2) In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Embryo Transfer (ET)
2.3) Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

These ART procedures are summarized below with links to more detailed descriptions of each technique. Also see OPU and ET for information about the egg pick and embryo transfer.

3) The luteal phase corresponds to the second half of the menstrual cycle and involves the administration of injections or vaginal pessaries to assist the development of a suitable endometrium in the uterus for the embryo to implant into. Contrary to popular belief implantation of the embryo does not occur at the time of replacing the embryos into the uterus, but occurs a few days later. Pregnancy testing is performed at the end of this phase (16 days after egg pick-up).

Summary of A.R.T. services available at Coastal IVF

Ovulation Induction and Intra-Uterine Insemination (OI / IUI)

Stimulation of the ovaries (ovulation induction) to produce 1 to 3 eggs followed by insemination prepared sperm into the uterus (intra-uterine insemination).

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

Literally meaning fertilisation in glass, in vitro fertilisation or IVF involves removal of an egg from the body and fertilisation in the laboratory to create an early embryo, which is replaced into the woman’s uterus after 2-5 days.

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Used as an adjunct to IVF to assist fertilisation in the laboratory in cases where the sperm are unable to achieve this.

Assisted Hatching and Pre Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (AH / PGD)

Advanced forms of assisted reproduction technology. Assisted Hatching involves creating a hole in the outer membrane of the embryo to assist release of the embryo. Pre-implantation genetic (PGD) diagnosis is used to identify genetic abnormalities in the embryo.

Sperm and embryo freezing (Cryostorage)

Sperm and surplus embryos can be frozen and stored for use in future treatment cycles.