Assisted Reproductive Technologies

When you're having difficulty conceiving its important to understand what the options for treatment are. They basically fall into 3 categories:

  1. Continued attempts at natural conception - sometimes with the assistance of medication
  2. Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  3. In vitro fertilization (IVF)

Not all of these options are available to every couple but in many cases they are. It virtually always makes sense to continue attempts at natural conception (only rarely is this not a possibility) - even if the probability of success is low, there is always a chance. In many cases, however, it may not be the best option to continue with natural conception alone. Deciding on whether to proceed with insemination or IVF is a very personal decision and needs to be made after considering the pros and cons of the different approaches (costs, side-effects, pregnancy rates, risk of multiple gestation, etc.)


What is ART? ART is a general term for the tools that can be used to attain a pregnancy by artificial or partially artificial means - where artificial is defined as anything not occurring during natural intercourse.


How much sperm do you need for ART?

Technique Minimum Sperm Required
Intraureterine Insemmination (IUI)

3-5 million motile sperm

How to calculate this

Volume of ejaculate x concentration x motility/100 x 0.5 = total motile count post-wash

IVF 500,000


Recommended Web Resources

ASRM Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Guide for Patients


Author(s): K Poon  Major Revision/Review: January 2011