Sometimes even Mother Nature needs a hand, and that's where assisted reproduction technology, or ART, comes in.
The most popular form of this reproductive science is in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which an egg is removed from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in the laboratory. It's then returned to the uterus, where it will hopefully develop into a fetus. This is a particularly helpful treatment when a woman has blocked fallopian tubes that prevent eggs from reaching the uterus for fertilization.
But ART is not only for women. Several treatments could benefit men with infertility issues as well. Surgical sperm aspiration, for example, can help men who have blocked ejaculatory ducts. The process involves surgically removing sperm from the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm from the testes), testicles or other sections of male reproductive tract.
ART can be very effective in handling cases where something is mechanically wrong with either the male or the female reproductive systems or even in cases where conception has been difficult for no readily apparent reason. It's important to note that its effectiveness diminishes after age 35 [source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Information and Research].