Clinical biochemistry of assisted conception

This version was published on 1 May 2009

Ann Clin Biochem 2009;46:197-204
© 2009 Association for Clinical Biochemistry


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Review Articles

Rajeev Srivastava1 and
Vanessa Kay2

1 Department of Biochemical Medicine;
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK

Corresponding author: Dr Rajeev Srivastava. Email: rajeev.srivastava{at}

Assisted reproductive technology has shown rapid advancement since the birth of the first ‘test-tube’ baby in Oldham, UK, in 1978. Since April 2005, women between the ages of 23 and 39, who meet the described eligibility criteria, are able to get one free in vitro fertilization cycle funded by the National Health Service. Private treatment costs anything from £4000 to £8000 for a single cycle of treatment. Almost 15% of the couples in UK are affected by fertility problems and undergo detailed investigations before being offered assisted conception. Assisted reproduction is the collective name for treatments designed to lead to conception by means other than sexual intercourse. These include intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection andgamete donation. This review is intended to summarize the principlesof assisted conception and examine the role of the biochemistrylaboratory in: (A) the diagnosis and subsequent management ofovulatory disorders; (B) assessing ovarian reserve before initiatingfertility treatment and (C) monitoring fertility treatment.It touches on the screening of potential gamete donors and follow-upof children born after assisted conception. This article wasprepared at the invitation of the Clinical Sciences ReviewsCommittee of the Association of Clinical Biochemistry.

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