How assisted reproductive technology (ART) has evolved over the past four decades, Health News, ET HealthWorld


By Nitiz Murdia

The development of technology is one of the most notable revolutionary transformations of the 21st century. It has become a basic necessity for our daily life.

In a short time, the story of In vitro Fertilization (IVF) has progressed more than any other branch of medicine. What was once considered advanced medicine may today be considered archaic or primitive. Clearly, the key to the future of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) is held by the “omics” of science – genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

First attempts-
The first attempts at ART date back to the 1800s. The first recorded incidence of embryo transplantation was documented by Professor Walter Heape, in rabbits, in 1890. Since then, that of the first human pregnancy by IVF in 1973 has involved endless research, imagination and experimentation. Unfortunately, the first human IVF pregnancy resulted in early embryo death, but the same path paved the way for the world to rediscover reproductive potentials through ART.

Since the groundbreaking announcement of the world’s first test tube baby in 1978, the evolution of ART has not only pushed the peripheries of reproductive potential, but also the general perceptions that surround pregnancy. Now, a common occurrence for over 40 years, ARTs like IVF have given clients additional choices, new responsibilities, and intriguing sights and paradoxes. With the introduction of ICSI and sperm mapping, ART has opened up new avenues for biotechnology research and fertility preservation for patients with serious diseases as well as those wishing to delay childbearing for multiple reasons. .

As we strived to explore, the field of ART began to see multiple developments and achievements. From the birth of the world’s first quadruplets or the first frozen embryo, to the application of techniques such as percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA) or technologies that allow better visualization of the ovaries, the reach of ART has never stopped evolving.

Achieving goals and overcoming challenges-
ARTs have not only contributed to meeting global standards and the Sustainable Development Goals, but have also succeeded amid various unprecedented challenges, in the context of people’s perception as well as the global healthcare crisis such as the Covid-19.

According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 48 million couples and 186 million infertile people worldwide. In India too, fertility rates have steadily declined. According to the National Family Health Study (NFHS) 2015-16 survey, the national Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was found to be 2.2, down from 2.7 in the 2005-06 NFHS survey. And, according to the most recent NFHS 2019-21 statistics, India’s fertility rate has deteriorated further to an all-time low of 2.1, or two children per woman.

In the context of increasing infertility associated with alarming maternal mortality rates in the country and globally, ART has an important role in achieving the SDGs, where the third goal is “Good health and well-being”. be” and aspires that no more than 70 mothers die globally, out of 100,000 live births by 2030. MMR is primarily caused by the condition of the mother before and during pregnancy as well as a lack of prompt medical attention and this is where ART can be crucial. An IVF professional conducts a counseling session at the start of each cycle to help set expectations for treatment. This helps identify the underlying cause of infertility as well as identify medical conditions that need to be addressed before starting the ART cycle.

For example, if a woman on antiretroviral therapy is found to have severe diabetes that could impact the pregnancy and its outcome, she will be referred to an endocrinologist; if uterine fibroids are found, they will be removed surgically or laparoscopically.

The path to follow:
When it comes to finding appropriate treatment alternatives for every infertile couple, ART has made huge gains and rapid progress. To alleviate stress and social problems, the cost and complexity of treatment has been reduced. The risks associated with multiple pregnancies and the use of stimulated cycles have almost all been eliminated and new methods of treating severe male infertility and identifying genetic abnormalities of the embryo before transfer are being developed. . Given that the world is likely to remain in a pandemic-affected environment for the foreseeable future, it is crucial that medical treatment, especially reproductive care, is provided with the highest level of safety.

By Nitiz Murdia, Co-Founder and Director, Indira IVF

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely those of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily endorse them. shall not be liable for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.)

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