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A Brief Introduction to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

At one time, couples who could not have children of their own for whatever reason had two choices: stay childless or adopt. Now, thanks to advances in medical technology, parents who were formerly unable to conceive can take advantage of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which has paved the way for many new options for growing a family.

There are many forms of assisted reproductive technology. The most common include:

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): a procedure in which an egg is fertilized by sperm in a location outside the body, usually a laboratory, before being placed in the womb. It is the most common and effective ART currently in use.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): a procedure in which sperm is placed directly into a woman’s uterus. This increases the number of sperm that may potentially reach and fertilize an egg.
  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): ICSI is commonly used for couples who are older, experiencing a male infertility challenge, or have not been successful with IVF. A single sperm is injected directly into an egg (instead of just being exposed to the egg) in order to increase the likelihood of fertilization.

In addition to different medical methods of achieving pregnancy, there are varying ART scenarios that require the assistance of a skilled and experienced ART attorney. They include:

  • The egg or sperm (or both) may be donated, and the donors may be known or anonymous
  • A female parent may carry her own fertilized egg, that of her same sex partner, or a donated egg
  • The parents may opt to use a gestational carrier (surrogate), or woman who carries a baby to term on behalf of another couple. There are two primary types of surrogacy: gestational (the woman carries an embryo that is not genetically related to her on behalf of the intended parents) or traditional (in which the surrogate carries and delivers her own egg, which has been fertilized with sperm from an intended parent or a donor, and the surrogate delivers the child on behalf of the intended parents).

Assisted reproductive technology is an intricate and challenging process from both a medical and legal perspective. At Haas Tharrington, P.A., Attorney Jennifer Tharrington, is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, and devotes the majority of her practice solely to ART law matters.For a free confidential consultation, please call us today.