What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

Prior to the birth of the world’s first test-tube baby in 1978, conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), the only assisted reproductive technology (ART) was artificial insemination. 

Today there are several ART techniques that can enable people to have children who cannot do so naturally. The two main techniques are artificial insemination and IVF. In the first, the sperm of either the woman’s life partner or a donor is deposited into her uterus at the time she is ovulating. In the second, an egg of either the future mother or a donor is fertilized in a test tube in a specialized laboratory and the embryo thus produced in inserted into the woman’s uterus. 

While the gametes used (eggs and/or sperm) and the embryos may come from one or more outside donors as well as the parents, ART procedures in France very seldom use donor gametes. Almost all ART conceptions of babies in France use gametes from the two parents. 

Should a woman not be able to carry a fetus, there is the objective possibility of surrogacy, where another woman’s uterus is used to grow the baby; this practice can also be used by single men or same-sex male couples. Surrogacy is entirely prohibited in France.   

On line:February 2022