Assisted reproductive technology (ART) refers to the various methods used to achieve pregnancy by artificial or partially artificial means. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and artificial insemination (AI) are ART methods commonly used with animals and humans.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb. The animal industry often uses IVF to ensure a higher rate of fertilization and select desirable genetic traits. When performing in vitro fertilization, eggs (oocytes) and sperm are collected from the male and the female. The oocytes are cultured in vitro until they reach maturation. The sperm is then added to the mature oocytes under carefully controlled conditions, to facilitate fertilization. Fertilized eggs are cultured and allowed to develop in vitro for a few days. Embryos at the 8 cell stage or at the blastocyst stage are then transferred into a female recipient, where implantation and embryo development can occur.
Artificial insemination (AI) is an assisted reproductive technology also frequently used with animals and humans. In AI, sperm is placed in the reproductive tract of a female in order to impregnate her without sexual intercourse. Artificial insemination is used in animals to propagate desirable characteristics of one male to many females or overcome breeding problems, particularly in the cases of sheep, horses, cattle, pigs, pedigree dogs, and honeybees. Semen is collected, extended, then cooled or frozen. To allow the sperm to remain viable during the time before and after it is frozen, the semen may be mixed with a solution containing glycerol or other cryoprotectants. A "sperm extender" may also be used to preserve sperm’s fertilizing ability, and to allow the impregnation of several females with the semen from a single donor.
You may find more information related to ART in the following web sites:
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