Artificial insemination is a form of assisted reproductive technology technique. Artificial insemination is a technique that can help treat certain kinds of infertility in both men and women. In this procedure, sperm are inserted directly into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. This makes the trip shorter for the sperm and bypasses any possible obstructions. Ideally, it makes pregnancy possible where it wasn’t before. Intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which the sperm is placed in the uterus, is the most common form of artificial insemination.
Artificial insemination techniques available include intra cervical insemination and intrauterine insemination. Artificial insemination is a fertilization procedure in which sperm is artificially placed into a woman’s cervix (intra cervical insemination) or uterus (intrauterine insemination). During the treatment, the woman’s menstrual cycle is closely monitored using ovarian kits, ultrasounds, and blood tests. The semen to be implanted is “washed” in a laboratory, which increases the chances of fertilization while removing unnecessary, potentially harmful chemicals. The semen is inserted into the woman, and if the procedure is successful, she conceives. The chances of becoming pregnant using artificial insemination depends a lot on what type of fertility issue is preventing a natural conception. Generally there is a 5-25% rate of success per treatment for women who use AI to get pregnant, and these chances increase if the woman uses fertility drugs before the treatment.
Artificial insemination has been a popular form of fertility treatment for couples trying to conceive. The original technique used for artificial insemination was referred to as Intra cervical insemination or ICI. Today’s most common technique is called intrauterine insemination or IUI and is more effective procedure than the original. This process turns the dreams of having a child into a reality for many couples facing infertility issues and single women.
Though the pregnancy rates for women undergoing artificial insemination may not be as high as they are for some more advanced techniques, this technique has some key advantages: It’s a simple procedure with few side effects and it is not expensive.
For these reasons, doctor may recommend it as an initial form of treatment for infertility.
Why is Artificial Insemination used?
Artificial insemination can be used for many kinds of fertility problems. Artificial insemination is beneficial to couples or individuals in many circumstances. For example a couple may be producing healthy sperm and eggs but not necessarily be able to have a child due to a medical condition. Some other scenarios where artificial insemination could be beneficial are listed below.
1. IUI is often performed as a first treatment for unexplained infertility along with ovulation-inducing medications.
2. It is often used to impregnate women whose partners have very low sperm counts or sperm that aren’t strong enough to swim through the cervix and up into the fallopian tubes.
3. IA is used for infertility issues dues to cervical factor infertility. It means that cervix is unable to produce enough mucus and allows the sperm to travel to the womb. The mucus surrounding the cervix is hostile to sperm and prevents sperm from getting into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Artificial insemination allows the sperm to bypass the cervical mucus entirely.
4. Fertility issues caused by endometriosis.
5. When the male partner is impotent or suffers from infertility those results from medical issues.
6. In rare cases, some women suffer from a semen allergy that prohibits having direct contact with the sperm.
7. Women that want a child without a partner may consider artificial insemination.
8. Couple that is in a same-sex relationship may use artificial insemination to have a child.
Donor Sperm and Artificial Insemination
Women can use their husband’s sperm for insemination if it is viable, or they can choose to use donor sperm. In this case they will be using Artificial Insemination by Donor (AID) to get pregnant. This process may be needed if the husband’s sperm is not viable or if the female is single and wishes to have a baby on her own. This type of fertility treatment can also be utilized by couples where the male partner has a genetic disorder, or when more advanced treatments like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is too expensive.
The process of Artificial Insemination
An insemination procedure uses a thin, flexible tube (catheter) to put sperm into the woman’s reproductive tract. For some couples with infertility problems, insemination can improve the chances of pregnancy. Donor sperm are used if the male partner is sterile, has an extremely low sperm count, or carries a risk of genetic disease. A woman planning to conceive without a male partner can also use donor sperm. Prior to insemination, the sperm usually are washed and concentrated (placing unwashed sperm directly into the uterus can cause severe cramps). Concentration is accomplished by selectively choosing highly active, healthy sperm that are more capable of fertilizing an egg.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the placing of sperm into a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating. This is achieved with a thin flexible tube (catheter) that is passed into the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus. IUI can use sperm from the male partner or a donor. It is often combined with super ovulation medicine to increase the number of available eggs.
Artificial insemination (AI): Artificial insemination (AI) is another name for intrauterine insemination but can also refer to placing sperm in a woman’s vagina or cervix when she is ovulating. The sperm then travel into the fallopian tubes, where they can fertilize the woman’s egg or eggs. AI can be done with sperm from the male partner or a donor, and can be combined with super ovulation.
Intrauterine insemination is a relatively simple and safe procedure, and the risk of serious complications is low. Risks include:
Infection: Studies indicate that less than 1 percent of women experience infection as a result of the procedure.
Spotting: Sometimes the process of placing the catheter in the uterus can cause a small amount of internal bleeding. This does not usually have an effect on the chance of pregnancy.
Multiple pregnancy: IUI itself is not associated with an increased risk of a multiple pregnancy – twins, triplets or more. However, when coordinated with ovulation-inducing medications, the risk of multiple pregnancy increases significantly. A multiple pregnancy has higher risks than a single pregnancy does, including early labour and low birth weight.
What to Expect After Treatment?
These techniques are done on an outpatient basis and require only a short recovery time. You may experience cramping during the procedure, especially if sperm are inserted into your uterus. You may be advised to avoid strenuous activities for the remainder of the day. The treatment is pretty simple and painless with maybe a little cramping. It is performed in the fertility specialist clinic and the procedure can be done by a qualified nurse or a doctor.
IUI may also be used if a couple would like to avoid the higher cost of IVF treatment. Even though IUI is less effective per cycle than IVF, a couple may be able to afford more attempts with IUI. Artificial insemination should not be used in women with blocked Fallopian tubes. The tubes are often checked out with an x-ray test called a hysterosalpingogram. Female age is a significant factor with IUI. Intrauterine insemination has very little chance of working in women over 40 years old. IUI has also been shown to have a reduced success rate in younger women with a significantly elevated day 3 FSH level, or other indications of significantly reduced ovarian reserve. If the sperm count, motility and morphology scores are quite low, intrauterine insemination is unlikely to work. Insemination is a reasonable initial treatment that should be utilized for a maximum of about 3 months in women who are ovulating (releasing eggs) on their own. It is reasonable to try IUI for longer in women with polycystic ovaries (PCOS) and lack of ovulation that have been given drugs to ovulate.
While artificial insemination does not guarantee pregnancy, it does have success rates of around 30 percent. The success rates do depend on a variety of factors that include the insemination method used, the age of the female, egg and sperm quality, male factor infertility and the endometriosis factor. Anyone interested in artificial insemination should seek a consultation with the fertility specialist.
With today’s advanced reproductive technology, you can always find a solution to all the fertility problems. You must meet an expert in the infertility field.
Common causes of infertility problems in women – Ovulation problems – Endometriosis – Poor egg quality – Polycystic ovarian syndrome – Tubal factors – Unexplained fertility problems – Get expert guidance from the IVF specialist – pregnancy and parenting experts today.
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