Reproductive medicine deals with the research, the diagnosis and the treatment of reproductive processes. A major focus in this regard is on fertility disorders. The expression of reproduction in this context is understood as the generation of new but largely similar individuals.
Reproductive medicine is in the widest sense connected to the sub-areas of urology, gynecology, genetics and andrology. By Andrology understood the physician's research into male reproductive ability. Thus, andrology in the widest sense corresponds to gynecology for men. The andrological pioneer Carl Schirren established the first reproductive medical center in Germany in 1983. One of the most important areas of reproductive medicine opened in the 1980s. At that time, Steptoe and Edwards developed in vitro fertilization.
This artificial insemination gave birth in Germany during the 80s, the first "retort baby" of the country. The methods of artificial insemination have since been permanently refined and developed further. The scope of reproductive medicine is largely dictated by German law and bioethics. Ethical and legal issues have always arisen in connection with artificial insemination. It is precisely these issues that need to be clarified by the reproductive medicine permanently medical and bioethical.
Reproductive medicine is primarily concerned with in vivo and in vitro fertilization. The treatment spectrum ranges from the therapy of certain fertility disorders to the induction of assisted pregnancies in infertility. Both in vivo and in vitro fertilization are part of the so-called assisted reproduction.
The focus of this assisted reproduction is the generation of pregnancy through various medical techniques. These techniques include hormonal treatments as well as surgical or minimally invasive procedures. In vivo fertilization procedures fertilize the egg in the womb. The methods of in vitro fertilization, however, refer to artificial insemination in the test tube. In the field of research, reproductive medicine is particularly concerned with the further development of in vitro and in vivo fertilization techniques. Also, the diagnostic methods for diagnosing infertility in the research field are constantly evolving.
Apart from this, reproductive medical research is investigating innovative methods of contraception, such as hormonal contraception. In addition, the analysis of environmental influences in the context of general fertility is an important field of research in the discipline. The societal and ethical implications of new reproductive medical techniques will also be captured and analyzed in the research field of reproductive medicine. This concerns, for example, the question of to what extent today's already limited potential young talent planning is ethically responsible for selected characteristics.
Reproductive medicine is also concerned with stem cell research in the broadest sense. For example, embryonic stem cells are largely derived from in vitro fertilization. In this area, reproductive medicine is bound by the legal requirements for stem cell research. In the field of fertilization, compliance with the Embryo Protection Act is one of the most important conditions in the development of new treatment and fertilization methods.
Usually, a couple or an individual, especially in the context of a missed pregnancy on a reproductive medicine. Anamnesis is a not to be underestimated part of reproductive medicine. Mostly, the doctor already aamnetisch a clue of the possible causes of disturbed fertility.
Fertility tests also fall into the treatment spectrum of the discipline. In men, such tests usually correspond to a functional test of the sperm. Masturbation can be used to obtain the sperm. Even minimally invasive procedures are conceivable. The function of sperm thus obtained and analyzed is documented in a spermiogram. Above all, this spermiogram shows the density, the speed and the general health of the sperm. The fertility of the woman may be examined by the reproductive medicine about hormone examinations. In addition, laparoscopy, uterine and ultrasound examinations or an observation of the cycle are conceivable diagnostic methods.
The most important methods in the therapeutic field of reproductive medicine are intrauterine insemination, intracytoplasmic sperm injection and testicular sperm extraction. In addition, microsurgical, epididymal sperm aspiration and in vitro maturation have become very important in reproductive medicine therapy. In intrauterine insemination, sperm are introduced directly into the woman's uterus. This method is particularly useful when the flow rate of sperm is compromised.
The intracytoplasmic sperm injection goes one step further. The sperm of the male are injected into the cytoplasm of the female egg. To obtain sperm, testicular biopsy is used in testicular sperm extraction. For in vitro methods, however, the sperm can also be obtained via a microsurgical, epididymal sperm aspiration from the epididymis. The in vitro Maturation concerns women with certain fertility disorders. In this procedure, the reproductive physician removes immature oocytes from the woman's ovaries.
The oocytes are artificially matured in the test tube until they are fertile. Many methods of reproductive medicine are predominantly hormonally controlled and are therefore accompanied by hormone therapy. The fulfillment of a hitherto unmet desire for a child is thus the main area of all reproductive measures.