Assisted reproductive technology (ART) helps individuals or couples experiencing fertility issues. ART involves complex medical procedures affecting sperm, eggs or gametes that can increase the chances of pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says nearly 2% of all U.S. births result from ART.
Research indicates that roughly one out of every 10 couples have fertility problems. Worldwide, the evidence says about 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have issues getting or staying pregnant. About 40% to 50% of infertility cases involve “male factors,” such as low sperm concentration.
Types of assisted reproductive technology
Several ART methods are available, including:
- In vitro fertilization: IVF is the most common type of ART, where eggs are extracted by a doctor and fertilized in a specialized lab. Specialists usually do this and transfer embryos into the uterus (IVF-ET).
- Intrafallopian transfer: Similar to IVF, gametes are delivered directly into the fallopian tube during laparoscopic surgery. Specialists rarely use this method due to higher risks and costs.
- Frozen embryo transfer: FET has been used more often in recent years and involves inserting previously frozen embryos into the uterus.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection: ICSI is usually an add-on procedure to IVF. A specialist injects a single sperm directly into an egg using a tiny needle.
In addition to the intended parents donating eggs and sperm, third-party ART uses embryos, eggs, or sperm donated by others to help couples become parents. This method also includes surrogates and gestational carriers.
IVF success rates
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, 99% of all ART procedures are IVF-ETs. In 2018, the CDC released its most current success rates for people in these age ranges using their own eggs:
- 52%: People 35 or younger
- 38.1%: Ages 35 to 37
- 23.5%: Ages 38 to 40
- 7.6%: People over age 40
The CDC provides an IVF success estimator for people who want to know their chances of conceiving a child using IVF. Fertility treatments can be difficult for couples to access due to costs and limited coverage by Medicaid and private insurance. The average cost of a single IVF cycle is between $12,000 and $17,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.