What is Assisted Reproductive Technology?
Updated: Jan 26
What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)?
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is any technology employed to conceive a child by means other than sexual intercourse.
In the past, couples who could not naturally conceive children had one option to grow their family: adoption.
Today, due to advances in medical technology, couples who are unable to naturally conceive children can employ assisted reproductive technology in order to grow their family. This applies to heterosexual couples struggling with infertility and same-sex couples who are unable to conceive a child without the assistance of a third party.
There are a number of assisted reproductive technology methods, including:
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or Artificial Insemination (AI): Insertion of sperm into female reproductive organs by any means other than sexual intercourse. This procedure increases the number of sperm that may reach and fertilize an egg and achieve a pregnancy.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): The injection of a single sperm into a single egg in vitro in order to increase the likelihood of fertilization. This method is often used by couples who have not been successful with in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Fertilization of an egg by sperm outside the womb in a petri dish which creates an embryo that is placed into the womb. This is the most common and effective method of assisted reproductive technology.
The above list explains ART medical procedures to achieve pregnancy. There are also ART scenarios that require legal counsel, including:
Surrogacy/Gestational Carrier Agreement: A gestational carrier or surrogate is a woman who carries a baby for another couple or individual. The woman may be genetically related to the baby (traditional surrogate) or have no genetic relationship to the baby (gestational carrier).
Egg Donor: An egg donor is a woman who provides her eggs for use by another person in order to conceive a child with the use of assisted reproductive technology. Egg donors can be known or anonymous.
Sperm Donor: A sperm donor is a male who provides sperm to another person or couple for the purpose of conceiving a child by intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), or other method of assisted reproduction.
Embryo Donation: The act by a couple of providing fertilized eggs in cryopreservation to others who can have them implanted for the purpose of conceiving and giving birth to a child. This act requires the relinquishment of all present and future parental rights and obligations to any child resulting from the donated embryo(s).
Assisted reproductive technology is a complex process with many components from both a medical and legal perspective. Any scenario involving a gestational carrier, surrogate, egg donor, sperm donor, or embryo donation requires the assistance of an attorney specializing in assisted reproductive technology.
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