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How is Artificial Insemination Done

How is Artificial Insemination Done
People who are unable to conceive a baby naturally, often wonder how is artificial insemination done. Artificial insemination is a type of assisted reproductive technology that helps impregnating a lady who cannot conceive naturally. Let's have a look at the procedure for artificial insemination and lay all your doubts to rest.One of the most joyous occasions for most couples is a positive pregnancy test. However, many couples fail to conceive after years of trying naturally. In many cases, same sex couples or a single woman may opt for giving birth to their biological child. In these cases, doctors may suggest artificial insemination as the solution. This is a process that helps impregnate a lady with the help of the sperm from her partner/husband or from a donor. The donor sperms are used in cases where the partner's/husband's sperm count is too low or in case of a single woman or same sex couples. People who are thinking of artificial insemination are very confused about the procedure. They often have the same question running through their minds, how is artificial insemination done. Let's answer a few questions about this process and clear the air about this method of biological reproduction.

What is Artificial Insemination?

Artificial insemination, also known as AI, is a fertilization procedure. In this process, sperms are directly placed into the reproductive tract of a woman. This helps her conceive a baby when all other means by sexual intercourse, i.e., natural insemination fail. A woman undergoing artificial insemination will have her menstrual cycle closely monitored by her doctor. The semen from her partner is washed in the laboratory and during her ovulation days, the semen is inserted artificially into her reproductive tract. If the process is successful, she will conceive a baby.

How is Artificial Insemination Performed?

There are two artificial insemination procedures performed for impregnating a lady. Both these methods involve using a thin catheter that is inserted into the female reproductive tract. The partner/husband is asked to collect his semen in a sterile container. Then, this semen is taken into a lab, where it is 'washed'. This means, the weaker sperms are eliminated and stronger sperms get concentrated for insemination. In some cases, donor sperms are used from unknown men. In both cases, the semen is checked for presence of any sexually transmitted disease or HIV/AIDS. The couple or lady undergoing artificial insemination can choose sperms from donors based on their race, features, career background, etc. Once this process is complete, the ovulation day of the woman is monitored. On the day when a woman is supposed to be ovulating, the procedure is carried out. The semen is then introduced into the female reproductive tract and one has to wait for fertilization to occur. The two procedures for artificial insemination include intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracervical insemination (ICI). Both these procedures are discussed in detail below:

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
The most commonly performed method of artificial insemination is intrauterine insemination. This is the most simple and least expensive of the two procedures. In this method, during ovulation, the catheter is inserted through the vagina. The tube passes the cervix and reaches the uterus. Then, the washed sperms are fed through the catheter into the uterus directly. The woman is then asked to rest on the table for about 15 minutes or so after the procedure. This is said to be helpful in increasing the chances of pregnancy.

Intracervical Insemination (ICI)
Intracervical insemination is a process that tends to imitate natural insemination process. During a sexual intercourse, a man ejaculates and deposits his sperms into the neck of cervix of the woman. From here, the sperms swim into cervix and move towards the fallopian tubes. This is where the released ovum awaits a sperm for fertilization. Similarly, during intracervical insemination, the catheter is placed at the cervix. The sperms are fed through the catheter and they swim from the cervix into the fallopian tube to meet the awaiting ovum. A sponge is kept at the cervix by the doctor to prevent any sperm from escaping out. This sponge is kept in place for at least 2 hours.

There are other methods of artificial insemination as well. They include intrauterine tuboperitoneal insemination where the fallopian tube as well as the uterus are filled with semen. Then, there is intravaginal insemination that is generally carried out for a woman who wants to go through artificial insemination at home. In this, a syringe is placed into the vagina filled with semen. The plunger is pushed and the semen is placed into the vagina. The woman is required to lie on her back with her hips in elevated position for at least 15 minutes. This allows and gives a chance to the sperms to enter the cervix and fertilize the ovum.

How Effective is Artificial Insemination?

There are many factors based on which the artificial insemination success rate depends. Intracervical insemination has a 10 to 15% chance of pregnancy per menstrual cycle. Intrauterine insemination has a better chance of pregnancy at 15 to 20% per menstrual cycle. It has been found that there is about 60 to 70% greater chance of pregnancy by intrauterine insemination after about 6 cycles. Women with advanced maternal age, show decrease in the artificial insemination success rates.

So, this was all about how is artificial insemination done. If one is trying to conceive and is unable to do so naturally, one can think about artificial insemination. Your doctor will prove to be your guide during the entire process, right from making a decision to the actual insemination process. Find reputed clinics in your area who will help you or any other woman to conceive through this artificial reproduction technique. You can even compare the artificial insemination costs of each clinic and find one that is suitable to your budget. Speak to people who have visited these clinics and have conceived successfully. This will help you get a fair idea of your chances and mentally as well as emotionally prepare you for the process. Hope the above information has proven to be helpful in clearing some of your doubts about this process of reproduction.