Assisted Reproductive Technology – terms you should know

1161454_67402672.jpgAssisted reproductive technology (ART) is a general term referring to the third party techniques or medical methods used to achieve pregnancy without insemination by sexual intercourse. The technology is used for a variety of reasons, but the ultimate goal is for individuals and couples to have a child when they otherwise would not been able to do so. The term is used in medical and legal fields and encompasses a number of different subjects and processes.

For any prospective parent, the jargon can be overwhelming, being inundated with unusual abbreviations and complex terminology. To be able to better understand the legal implications and responsibilities in donor agreements and surrogacy contracts, it is important to have a basic understanding of some of the more common terms and procedures. Below are common terms and their definitions to help prospective parents navigate through the ART journey.

  • ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY (ART) – A group of treatment methods used to improve fertility, which involves collecting the eggs and putting them in direct contact with sperm.
  • COMPENSATION – Payment of any valuable consideration for services in excess of reasonable medical and ancillary costs
  • CONCEPTION – The fertilization of an egg by sperm that leads to the creation of a baby.
  • CONGENITAL – Conditions present from birth, either hereditary or environmental.
  • CRYOPRESERVATION – The process of freezing tissues or cells and then storing them in liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures. This process is used to store sperm, embryos, and unfertilized eggs. They are stored in small vials or straws that can last for decades.
  • DONOR – An individual who contributes a gamete or gametes for the purpose of in vitro fertilization or implantation in another.
  • DONOR INSEMINATION (DI) – A type of artificial insemination using sperm not from the male partner or husband.
  • DONOR SPERM – Semen specimens donated and used in an ART procedure.
  • EGG DONATION – Process in which eggs from a fertile woman are donated to an infertile woman for use in an ART procedure.
  • EGG RETRIEVAL – A procedure used to collect eggs from a woman’s follicles for use in IVF, usually performed with ultrasound-directed needle aspiration during IVF.
  • EMBRYO – A term that describes the time from fertilization of the egg until the first few weeks of pregnancy.
  • EMBRYO FREEZING – See Cyropreservation
  • EMBRYO TRANSFER – Placing an embryo into a woman’s uterus or into the fallopian tube after IVF.
  • FERTILITY CLINIC – A program of fertility specialists offering a range of fertility services, usually including ART.
  • FERTILITY DRUGS – A group of drugs given to women to improve fertility. Fertility drugs are also used to treat some men with male factor infertility.
  • FERTILITY SPECIALIST – A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
  • FERTILIZATION – Penetration of the egg by the sperm cell.
  • FETAL REDUCTION – A technique that reduces the number of fetuses in a multifetal pregnancy to reduce the risks of multiple pregnancy.
  • FETUS – A term used to describe human in utero development, from the period of time when the embryo is fully formed at around 8 weeks, until birth.
  • GAMETE – Either a sperm or an egg.
  • GESTATION – The medical term for pregnancy

Harden Jackson Law can assist you with consultation, preparation, negotiation and review of any consents, contracts, arrangements or parentage documents related to ART processes and surrogacy.

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