What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

Does ART Cause Birth Defects?

There is a slightly increased risk of birth defects in babies conceived using IVF. The risk of birth defects in children conceived naturally is 2 percent to 3 percent, compared to a 2.6 percent to 3.9 percent risk in children conceived by IVF.

The Emotional Toll

The path of any ART procedure can be a tough one for many women and their partners. It generates a wide range of emotions. The waiting, uncertainty, and demands of treatment can take a toll on anyone. These, along with the financial stress of the high-cost procedures, can cause feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression.
If you are going through an ART procedure, you may want to find someone to talk to as you work through the emotions that go along with this difficult process. This person can also give you suggestions on how to keep the lines of communication open with your partner, as this process will also affect him or her (see Coping With Infertility for more suggestions on how to work through all this).

Final Considerations

There are numerous options involved with assisted reproductive technology, and the method your healthcare provider recommends will be based on various factors. Before making a decision on which method is right for you, it can help to educate yourself as much as possible. The more you know about the tests, medications, risks, and costs, the less anxiety and concern you may have with your decision.
Try to realize that although fertility problems can make some people feel isolated, you are not alone. Most fertility centers can offer a multidisciplinary team, composed of many care providers in addition to your individual healthcare provider. These people are there to help you along this road, providing emotional, financial, and physical support. Take advantage of their experience with these treatments, as they can give you some helpful suggestions on coping and provide you with any information you might need.
Although ART procedures cannot guarantee you will become pregnant, they can significantly increase your chances of it. Knowing how much you want to invest -- emotionally, physically, and financially -- can help in your decision about whether an ART procedure is right for you.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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