Hong Kong Med J 2000;6:177-83 | Number 2, June 2000
SEMINAR PAPERS--REPRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY
Patient selection for assisted reproductive technology treatments
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
Assisted reproductive technologies refer to procedures in which the oocyte is handled or manipulated in vitro before replacement, either as an oocyte or an embryo. Because of rapid advances in this area, infertile couples may seek direct referral for assisted reproductive treatments, instead of trying simpler measures such as ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination. It is important to establish whether these conventional infertility treatments are appropriate, as such treatments are generally safer, less stressful, and more affordable. On the other hand, subjecting infertile couples to unnecessary delay by offering inappropriate treatments--for example, ovulation induction for tubal infertility or intrauterine insemination for severe male-factor infertility--would reduce the overall chance of success because of the age-related decline in female fecundity. The choice of infertility treatments thus depends on a balance of factors: the chance of pregnancy without treatment; the chance with simpler and safer, but less successful, infertility treatments; or the chance with the more complex and costly, but more effective, assisted reproductive treatments. The factors that should be taken into consideration include the age of the woman, the duration of infertility, the causes of infertility, the availability and cost of alternative treatments, and--most importantly--the acceptability.
Key words: Fertilization in vitro; Infertility/diagnosis; Infertility/therapy; Patient selection; Pregnancy rate; Reproduction techniques
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