Assisted fertilization, techniques to know if you want to become parents with medically assisted procreation.
Assisted fertilization, techniques to know
Becoming a parent is the desire of many people who may encounter some difficulties in conception on their path. Medically assisted procreation (MAP) or the set of techniques from surgical to hormonal or pharmacological ones that help to conceive a child, is in this a valid aid that supports mothers and fathers looking for a child with cutting-edge techniques . As reported by the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, there are rules that, in our country, keep in balance the aspects related to assisted procreation, a highly specialized branch of medicine with a very specific articulation. As also reported by the SIAMS (Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine), the problems of infertility in Italy are supported by laws that help parents have a child and push for example on heterologous fertilization (i.e. fertilization with sperm other than that of the father) if the fertility problems are absolute.
As part of the assisted fertilization, cutting-edge techniques in use guarantee future parents a high potential for success. Let’s see together what they are and how they work.
In this article
What is assisted fertilization
Assisted fertilization is one of the techniques in use in the medical field of medically assisted procreation. It can be homologous (when the egg-sperm sample pair belong to the child’s natural parents) or heterologous, when a sperm sample is taken from an external donor.
How assisted fertilization works
The goal is to facilitate the meeting between egg and sperm in an artificial way: intrauterine insemination (IUI) is part of the first level assisted fertilization techniques and consists in inserting the spermatozoon treated in the laboratory into the woman’s uterus. Before the implant, specialists monitor or medically stimulate the woman’s ovulation, if this does not occur.
There are other first level fertilization techniques such as:
- induction of multiple ovulation associated with supracervical insemination which is performed using seminal fluid preparation techniques
- possible cryopreservation of male gametes
Second level assisted fertilization techniques
Going into the assisted reproduction techniques we find level II ones that allow the conception of the embryo outside the maternal uterus. In particular, two types of MAP belong to this sphere:
IVF (in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer)
With IVF, the woman’s ovulation is stimulated with daily hormone therapy, which will also be checked by specialists for 14 days to verify how and how much the therapy is working. When the follicles have matured, the hCG hormone is administered so as to complete the creation of the egg, which will then be extracted (pick-up) in the day hospital, fertilized in vitro and repositioned in the uterus.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
The ICSI technique is used in case of male infertility, when the spermatozoa are not very active or inactive, so as to take the sample and insert it with a micropipette into the egg.
GIFT (intra-tubal transfer of male and female gametes)
a technique launched in 1984 which involves the transfer of gametes (male and female) into the fallopian tube with a flexible catheter. In this way the gametes meet in their “natural” environment.
To these are also added the vaginal egg retrieval, testicular sampling of gametes (percutaneous sampling or testicular biopsy and possible cryopreservation of male and female gametes and embryos (within the limits of the regulations in force in the country). These techniques in which the woman’s egg meets the sperm in laboratory is preceded by an accurate analysis of the ovulation of the subject, which can also be medically stimulated and with adequate hormonal therapy if it does not show up: this allows doctors to extract the egg and bring them into culture, so as to then implant the fertilized embryo between three and five days after removal.
Level III MAP: MONTH and TESE
Among the new assisted fertilization techniques there are also the so-called third level ones, in which the male sperm sample must be taken surgically.
The techniques of MESA he was born in THESE they allow the spermatozoa to be recovered surgically: this is done when there are obstructive problems. By taking the sample directly from the male testicle in a minimally invasive way and with local anesthesia, it is then possible to proceed with subsequent fertilization practices such as ICSI.
Sources for the article: Ministry of Health, “Guidelines containing the indications of the procedures and techniques of medically assisted procreation”; SIAMS, “Assisted reproduction”