What is artificial insemination?
Artificial insemination is a technique used in treating infertility in both women and men. It involves bypassing any obstructions by inserting the sperm directly into the woman’s uterus, cervix or fallopian tubes. Artificial insemination makes it possible for a woman that could not conceive naturally to get pregnant. The most common type of artificial insemination is the Intrauterine insemination (IUI). This method involves placing the sperm into the uterus. More advanced techniques than artificial insemination may have higher pregnancy rates but there are some advantages. First of all it is simple and inexpensive. It also has very few side effects. That is why it is a good option for an initial infertility treatment.
What is artificial insemination used for?
Artificial insemination is used for treating many different kinds of fertility issues. It is very often recommended to men which sperm count is low or their sperm is weaker and is not able to swim to the fallopian tubes through the cervix. Women are sometimes recommended artificial insemination in cases of endometriosis or other disorders in their reproductive organs. It is also recommended to women with unreceptive cervical mucus. In this case sperm cannot get into the uterus or the fallopian tubes because the mucus that surrounds the cervix is hostile to it. Using artificial insemination the cervical mucus is bypassed entirely letting the sperm get into the fallopian tubes. Often women with undiagnosed infertility are also recommended to have this procedure.
When you decide to have artificial insemination the doctor will make sure that you are ovulating using ovulating kits, blood tests, or ultrasound so you can undergo the treatment.
If you are ovulating then your partner must provide the semen sample. The partner will probably be asked to not have sex for 2 to 5 days before the procedure to rise the sperm count. If the clinic is not far from your house he can collect the semen sample at home by masturbation. If not then your partner will be able to use a private room for that purpose and after that the sperm must go to the laboratory within 1 hour from the ejaculation.
Then the sperm is “washed” which rises the chance of fertilization by removing chemicals from it that could interrupt a proper conception. Next the most active sperm is separated and collected. The last step is inserting the sperm to the uterus through the vagina and the cervix. It is a simple, short and rather painless procedure. After this you will need to lay for about 30 minutes less or more and later you can go back to normal functioning. Sometimes fertility drugs are used before artificial insemination to achieve superovulation.
Factors like older age, poor egg or sperm quality, severe cases of endometriosis and damaged or blocked fallopian tubes can have a significant influence on the success rate of artificial insemination.