Assisted Reproduction Methods FAQ


Q: How is infertility treated? What assisted reproductive options are available?

Often infertility is treated by drug treatment or surgical repair of reproductive organs.  The American Society for Reproductive Medicine also lists some of the other methods that are used to assist couples, some of which involve artificial insemination:

  • In-vitro fertilization
  • Cryopreservation (freezing) of embryos
  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer
  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
  • Assisted hatching
  • Intrauterine insemination

Most of the above methods may be conducted to initiate a pregnancy using a couple's own eggs and sperm, or with donor eggs, sperm, or embryos.  In addition, a pregnancy may also be carried out by an egg donor (traditional surrogate) or by another woman with no genetic relationship to the baby (gestational carrier) using some of the above methods.

If a donor or surrogate is involved, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of legal counsel, so that you understand your legal rights and obligations throughout this complex and emotional process.


Q: What is in-vitro fertilization?

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) offers couples who are unable to have a child, the possibility of giving birth to a biologically related child.  The IVF process involves the surgical removal of eggs from the ovary and a mixing of eggs with sperm outside the body in a Petri dish.  After approximately two days, the eggs are examined to see if they have become fertilized by the sperm, as evidenced by the eggs dividing into cells. These fertilized eggs (embryos) are then placed into the women's uterus.


Q: What is cryopreservation (freezing) of embryos?

Cryopreservation avoids the discarding of embryos not used during an IVF cycle, by freezing unused embryos.  The process may provide a couple another chance to achieve pregnancy, without having the woman undergo the initial part of the IVF process. 

Frozen embryos are usually the joint property of the man and woman, and any disposition likely would require the consent of both parties.  We recommend obtaining legal advice to have a full understanding of the legal status of frozen embryos.


Q: What is gamete intrafallopian transfer?

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) is when gametes (egg and sperm) are transferred to the woman's fallopian tubes, rather than her uterus.  Fertilization then takes place in the fallopian tubes.


Q: What is zygote intrafallopian transfer?

Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) involves fertilization that takes place in a lab, not in the fallopian tube.  The fertilized egg is then transferred to the fallopian tube, not the uterus.


Q: What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a method to overcome male infertility.  ICSI involves each egg being injected with only one sperm, avoiding the need for the sperm to penetrate the "shell" of the egg to achieve fertilization.


Q: What is assisted hatching?

In assisted hatching, the "shell" surrounding an embryo is opened or removed, prior to embryo transfer to the uterus, which assists the embryo in its implantation and may help produce a pregnancy.


Q: What is intrauterine insemination?

Intrauterine insemination involves threading a very thin flexible catheter through the cervix and injecting washed sperm into the uterus.

Assisted reproduction technology is an emerging area, and the laws governing this area are constantly evolving.  If you are considering assisted reproduction technology to add to your family, seek the advice of an experienced Georgia assisted reproduction lawyer.

Assisted Reproduction and Surrogacy Resources

The Central Georgia Fertility Institute website has information about services, care, a library of resources, and other information.

The Society for Assisted Reproduction website has data, information for patients, and other information.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine has information for patients on finding a doctor, answers to questions, and other information on its website.

The Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy (non-profit) provides resources for infertile couples on its website.

The National Infertility Association (non-profit) website promotes reproductive health, and has information for those experiencing infertility.

The Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction website provides an archive of articles on assisted reproduction topics.