Couples who are wanting to get pregnant often face biological problems that work against their efforts. Assisted conception includes a broad range of medical techniques that promote human egg fertilization beyond traditional coupling methods. This realm of procedures is highly specialized because it addresses issues of biomedical conditions that hinder conception, and individual predispositions that coincide with creating a perfect environment in which conception can occur. In short, assisted conception techniques are individualized to maximize the potential for the successful joining of a sperm and egg.
Available assisted conception methods can include therapeutic relaxation and nutritional regimens, or procedures that involve extracting reproductive specimens. Modern cellular extraction methods are relatively non-invasive, and they take into account reproductive potentials of both partners.
How Does Assisted Conception Work?
After consultation with reproductive specialists, couples can elect to have a broad range of assisted conception methods performed. Overall, any effective procedure will require sampling and preservation of both male and female cells. In order to retrieve egg cells from a woman’s ovaries, it is usually recommended to undergo a hormonal treatment a couple of weeks before the extraction to stimulate and maximize the production of egg cells.
Female eggs are extracted by inserting a needle through the vaginal wall and into an ovarian follicle and suction the fluid containing egg cells. The procedure typically lasts less than 30 minutes and is performed under light anesthesia. Male cells are most commonly collected through masturbation and ejaculation into a sterile collection cup.
Once both man’s and woman’s cells are collected, they are concentrated in a lab, and brought together using different medical procedures, the most common being ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), a microscopic cellular injection method.
Once it is determined that a sperm and egg have been joined, a simple procedure places the resulting fertilized egg (also known as zygote) back into the female's body. It will be necessary to wait for a few days to verify if implantation in the uterus was successful. Sometimes, multiple assisted conception treatments are necessary for success.