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8 Types of Infertility Treatments and Assisted Conception

Here are eight types of infertility treatments (aka “assisted conception”) that take getting pregnant to a whole new level:  IVF, SUZI, MIST, ICSI,GIFT, ZIFT, MESA, and TESE.

“Assisted reproductive technology has helped many childless couples to become parents,” writes Dr Miriam Stoppard in Conception, Pregnancy & Birth: The Childbirth Bible for Today’s Parents. “Originally in vitro fertilization (IVF) was the only form, but now there are a number of techniques aimed at helping a couple conceive and give birth to a healthy child. The rewards are wonderful, but the emotional costs can be high. Any couple considering assisted reproductive technology needs expert support.”

Many fertility clinics won’t provide treatments or assisted conception unless the couple has talked to a counselor or psychologist (and that can cost extra, depending on the type of infertility treatment). For more information on assisted conception, read Making Babies the Hard Way: Living with Infertility and Treatment.

And, here are the definitions of eight different types of fertility treatments…

Assisted reproductive technology or ART describes a range of infertility treatments – all involving lab treatments and medical drugs. Some treatments for infertility also involve egg donors or sperm donors…and they all focus on egg fertilization, embryo implantation, baby conception, and (hopefully) birth!

8 Types of Infertility Treatments and Assisted Conception

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an infertility treatment that involves fertilization outside the body, in a glass dish (“in vitro” means “in glass”). The fertilized embryo(s) are then placed in the uterus. In vitro fertilization is especially helpful for women with damaged fallopian tubes, severe endometriosis, immune problems, unexplained infertility, and older women who have deteriorating egg production.

Sub-zonal insemination (SUZI) is a type of in vitro fertilization that involves carefully selecting sperm and injecting them underneath the outer layer of the egg. This type of assisted conception helps men who have low sperm counts to conceive a baby.

Micro-insemination sperm transfer (MIST) is similar to sub-zonal insemination (SUZI), and involves depositing sperm directly into the egg cell.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) improves the chances of pregnancy because it involves selecting a single sperm, treating it, and injecting it directly into the egg. This is different from IVF, which fertilizes the eggs the usual way.

Gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT) is a type of infertility treatment that involves mixing sperm and ovum (eggs) outside the body and then immediately put into the fallopian tube. With GIFT, pregnancy happens as “naturally” as possible when it comes to infertility treatments! Gamete intra-fallopian transfer is less expensive than in vitro fertilization, but can only be used for women with healthy fallopian tubes.

Zygote intra-fallopian transfer (ZIFT) is similar to GIFT, but it’s a zygote that’s transferred to the fallopian tube (not the sperm-and-egg mixture).

Micro-epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) is a type of infertility treatment that requires sperm to be surgically extracted from the epididymis. MESA can help men who have no sperm in their ejaculate (azoospermia) to get his woman pregnant. After MESA is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) is similar to micro-epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA), but the sperm are collected from the testes (not the epididymis). After TESE is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Phew; there you have eight types of infertility treatments! If you need more information on any of them – or have questions or thoughts – please comment below.

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If you’re an infertile couple, you might want to learn how much infertility treatments cost.

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5 thoughts on “8 Types of Infertility Treatments and Assisted Conception”

  1. is there any type of treatment that doesn’t involve multiple eggs being used and then discarded? I’m uncomfortable with that.

  2. Please is there any fertility treatment like criptic fertility treatment,because some body said she undergo such treatment and heard twins.

  3. Thanks for your info on ovarian cysts, Vikki!

    I’m hoping to receive a donated frozen embryo (a different type of infertility treatment), and I really don’t want to have my cyst removed. I just want to get pregnant naturally…but that’s impossible, it seems.

  4. Ovarian cyst throughout pregnancy is really a health condition which does not necessarily pose any threats or danger to you and your baby. In most instances, this usually occurs due to hereditary reasons. However, there are chances that this could lead to far more complicated health risks if the ovarian cyst becomes twisted, larger or has the capacity to rupture.

  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Oops — one major type of fertility treatment I neglected to add to this list of different types of infertility treatments is surrogate parenting!

    If you need info on surrogacy, please ask here.