by Kamini Rao (Editor)
Assisted reproduction refers to a number of advanced techniques that aid fertilization in a couple diagnosed to have reduced fertility such as in women who have irreversible damage to their fallopian tubes or cervical mucous problems. These techniques can also benefit couples with unexplained infertility.
Before 1978, infertility diagnosis and treatment revolved around surgical interventions such as fallopian tube(s) repair or inserting sperms into the uterus. Thus, the management was applicable and aimed at removing the mechanical blockage that prevented the fertilization of egg. Then ca.me Louise Brown and Dr. Patrick Steptoe, a couple who were destined to be associated forever in the infertility history books forever. This is because in 1978, Dr. Steptoe made it possible for Louise to conceive in a laboratory in England with IVF.
From this turning point in the science of infertility, came techniques that addressed the biochemical and hormonal aspects of infertility thus marking the beginning of a whole new subspecialty called Reproductive Endocrinology. With Dr. Steptoe’s technique, called IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), couples who otherwise had no problems that could be surgically treated now had another option.
With the inclusion of Information technology in all aspects of our life, the explosion of Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART) has resulted in further sophistication of additional techniques, now responsible for the existence of over 20,000 human beings a year that would never have existed. ART deals with all aspects of the science of conception, be it investigating the couple, or determining their ovarian reserve to application of the most appropriate technique to aid conception in that couple.
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