ART – what?

ART stands for Assisted Reproductive Treatment. This is the general term for the different fertility treatments: artificial insemination, IVF, IVF-ICSI, IVM, etc.

If spontaneous natural conception is proving difficult, various ART treatments are available. The best method of treatment depends on the nature of your fertility problem.
The CRG doctor will perform tests to find the cause of your reduced fertility: see examinations man and woman.

About insemination and stimulation tells you more about the other ART treatments at the CRG, such as artificial insemination.
But sometimes another treatment is not recommended or does not result in pregnancy.
  • If that is the case IVF or IVF with ICSI may provide a solution.
    In IVF, fertilisation (coming together of sperm and egg) does not happen in a woman's body, but in a dish in the laboratory ('in vitro' means 'in glass'). The embryos form in the dish, hence the name 'test tube baby'.
  • And then there is in-vitro maturation (IVM), a patient-friendly treatment yielding increasingly better results.
    IVM allows in vitro-development of embryos after collecting and maturing immature eggs.

IVF-ICSI in a nutshell

Difficult but not painful 

The essence of IVF treatment is that fertilisation does not take place in the fallopian tube as in nature, but rather in a dish in the laboratory.

The process is largely as follows.
IVF|ICSI step by step provides detailed information.
  • Suppression and stimulation
    Your natural menstrual cycle is temporary replaced by medically induced cycle. Hormones are administered to stimulate the ovaries. The aim is to produce several eggs simultaneously.
  • Egg retrieval
    Just before ovulation, the follicles are punctured and drained with a fine needle, and the ripe eggs are collected.
  • In the laboratory
    • we either put the eggs in a dish with selected sperm of your partner (or a donor);
    • or inject one sperm in every egg to fertilise it. This is knows as IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmatic sperm injection).
    • The dish is then placed in an incubator which replicates the conditions of the uterus. If all goes well, a number of the eggs will fertilise and embryos will form.
  • Embryo transfer
    One (or two) of these embryos are transferred to your uterus in the hope that it will implant and grow into a healthy child.
FRET (frozen embryo transfer)
Often more embryos develop than are necessary for transfer. Any good quality supernumerary embryos are frozen.
If you are not pregnant at the first attempt, or if you want a second child later, the frozen embryos can be thawed and used in a subsequent transfer. You will not need ovarian stimulation, or any other treatment, for this.
The more frozen embryos, the higher the chances of a successful transfer. Because they don't all survive the thawing procedure.

      Difficult but not painful     

      Sound advice

      What can I do to give my treatment a greater chance of success? Read it all here.

      And click Folic acid if you want to know what every woman who wants to be pregnant should know about it.

      In-vitro fertilization is both an easy and a difficult treatment.
      Physically it is relatively straightforward:
      • IVF comprises a number of generally painless interventions which carry very little risk.
      • the side effects of the medication are usually restricted to abdominal pain during ovarian stimulation.
      • treatment is entirely on an 'outpatient' basis. You are not required to stay a single night in the hospital.
      However, the mental impact of IVF is more severe. The uncertainty and fear about the success of the treatment are stress factors which can put an enormous strain on any relationship.