Artificial insemination involves simulating the process of natural insemination, which could help achieve pregnancy. It is a traditional method of impregnating women without sexual intercourse.
But, developments in medical science have made the procedure easier and increased the success rates.
This article will cover all the essential details, including types, benefits, risks, and success rates of undergoing artificial insemination.
- 1 What Is Artificial Insemination?
- 2 Steps Involved In Artificial Insemination
- 3 Types Of Artificial Insemination
- 4 Benefits Of Artificial Insemination
- 5 Risks Of Artificial Insemination
- 6 Success Rates Of Artificial Insemination
- 7 Conclusion
What Is Artificial Insemination?
Artificial insemination is a clinical procedure that involves the introduction of sperm from a male partner or donor into the female reproductive organ.
Generally, the sperm sample is released at different locations, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tube. Hence, based on the site of release, the process has been categorized into different groups.
The treatment is a gift for several women with multiple conditions preventing them from getting pregnant. Generally, women suffering from cervical and ovulatory infertility use artificial insemination to get pregnant.
On the other hand, homosexual women or single women prefer using artificial insemination to conceive naturally. Some couples face male infertility problems; hence, they get sperm from a donor to conceive.
Steps Involved In Artificial Insemination
Generally, the process of artificial insemination starts with tracking the ovulation period.
The ovulation period plays a significant role in determining the success of the clinical procedure. Insemination during ovulation increases the chances of getting pregnant compared to any other day of the menstrual cycle.
Hence, doctors ask to follow a calendar or use clinical techniques like ultrasound to get the exact ovulation dates. In some cases, doctors suggest inducing ovulation by consuming a specific medication.
These medicines are formulated to induce early ovulation and release multiple eggs.
Usually, couples prefer taking sperm samples from the male partner. In some cases, like infertile men, and same-sex relationships, the woman is asked to get the sample from a donor.
But, doctors recommend getting a healthy and quality sperm sample from the sperm bank.
Sperms from the male partner are collected using different methods mentioned below.
- Sperm collected in a collection condom after sexual intercourse
- Usage of vibratory devices to induce stimulation to release sperm.
- Surgical Sperm Aspiration
Sperm BankThe sperm bank contains well-maintained sperm samples obtained from healthy donors. The facility staff adds a chemical called crypto-protectant that prevents sperm from freezing temperature.
Then, the sperm sample is kept fresh inside a cold storage area. Before use, the sperm sample is quarantined and tested for any transmissible diseases.
After collecting the sperm, doctors may insert the sample using the following techniques.
Types Of Artificial Insemination
ICI, or Intracervical insemination, is a widely practiced artificial insemination technique in which the sperm is inserted into the cervix.
The process is similar to natural intercourse; hence, it is easy and the least costly among all other artificial insemination techniques.
Generally, the process is conducted at the healthcare professional’s clinic for safety and accuracy. The insemination process involves the following steps:
- The female partner is asked to keep an eye on the ovulation cycle. In some cases, ovulation is induced using particular medications prescribed by the doctor.
- The male partner donates the sperm sample in a collection tube. In the case of an infertile male partner, sperm samples are collected from donors.
- Doctors use specialized syringes to inject sperm samples into the vagina. Alternatively, the sperm sample is loaded in a cervical cap and inserted into the vagina.
- After insertion, the woman should lie down for 30 minutes to allow the sperm to move up to the uterus. A pregnancy test follows the insemination process after two weeks to get the results.
IUI, or Intrauterine insemination, is another clinical method of artificial insemination preferred by healthcare professionals.
In IUI, the sperm sample is injected into the uterus, passing the cervix. The overall procedure of IUI is similar to ICI, but it requires a particular instrument called a speculum to reach the uterus easily.
- Initially, the ovulation period is followed thoroughly, and semen is collected from the male partner.
- The collected semen is washed to remove proteins that may affect fertilization. Moreover, washing makes the sperm concentrated, resulting in increased chances of fertilization.
- The speculum is a thin instrument inserted into the vagina to release sperm in the uterus.
Intratubal InseminationIntratubal insemination is a rarely used technique in which the sperm is released in the fallopian tube.
A catheter is used to pass the sperm through the cervix and uterus to reach the fallopian tubes. Hence, the method is otherwise termed fallopian tube sperm perfusion.
Benefits Of Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is an excellent treatment that allows couples to conceive naturally. In the treatment, the sperm is released artificially inside the female reproductive organ, from where all other processes occur naturally.
Artificial insemination could be the savior for several individuals facing issues related to pregnancy. Hence, artificial insemination would help avoid the following problems and successfully conceive.
- Infertile men or suffering from erectile dysfunction.
- Men with low sperm health.
- Men who have a genetic defect.
- Women who had endometriosis
- Women who produce unfavorable cervical mucus for pregnancy.
Risks Of Artificial Insemination
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
OHSS, or Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, may occur in a few women undergoing artificial insemination. Generally, such a condition arises due to a combination of artificial insemination and fertility medications.
In such a condition, the ovaries swell, causing mild-to-moderate symptoms. The common symptoms observed during OHSS include bloating, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. But, in rare cases, the condition may cause severe complications.
Consuming fertility medicines like gonadotropin alongside artificial insemination increases the risk of conceiving multiple pregnancies.
Such a condition could be severe as pregnancy with multiple fetuses increases the risk of miscarriage and premature birth.
Success Rates Of Artificial Insemination
The type of artificial insemination plays a significant role in the success rate of the process. Generally, people opting for IUI get better success rates compared to ICI.
But, all the methods are equally beneficial for the patient; hence, you should consult the doctor to get the best recommendation.
Besides, the method used to track the ovulation period may impact your success rate. People using clinical devices or medications may get accurate ovulation dates resulting in higher success rates.
A woman’s age is another factor that may interfere with the procedure’s success. Younger women have a higher chance of getting pregnant each month than women aged 35+ years.
Hence, women above 35 years may show low success rates with artificial insemination.
Women facing ovulatory issues, reduced ovarian reserve, etc., may find certain medications, including oral and injectable, increasing the odds of artificial insemination.
Healthy women undergoing artificial insemination may slightly reduce the success rate of the process.
Underlying Fertility Problems
Fertility problems could be a significant barrier for women undergoing artificial insemination.
Women suffering from PCOS would fail to ovulate frequently, resulting in low success rates of artificial insemination.
Similarly, women with blocked fallopian tubes may fail to implant eggs in the uterus, which won’t allow fertilization.
Artificial insemination is an excellent method that allows for a healthy pregnancy. Women undergoing such processes to conceive may get pregnant without undergoing surgical procedures.
But, the process comes with a few risks, including OHCC, infection, and multiple pregnancies; thus, you should be careful with the treatment procedure.
It would be best to consult any healthcare professional before taking any step. You will get appropriate advice and a diagnosis of your condition.