Artificial Insemination (AI) is becoming more commonly known as Intrauterine Insemination. AI continues to be the term used as the semen is not always placed in the uterus, but sometimes in the cervix. While AI is technically correct because of the assistance of placing the sperm either in the cervix or the uterus, it is truly a way of facilitating sperm being in the right place at the right time.
What is the Artificial Insemination Process?
As its name implies, artificial insemination is a process that is used to place sperm into a woman’s reproductive tract using means other than sexual intercourse. The procedure involves concentrating semen into a small volume and placing it into the uterus (intrauterine insemination, or IUI) or the cervix (intracervical insemination).
Artificial Insemination for Male Infertility
There are several advantages to artificial insemination for people with fertility issues, especially for those with a degree of male infertility. In cases where the male’s sperm count is low, or where the sperm is abnormal or has poor motility, getting more viable sperm into the female reproductive tract can help achieve a better pregnancy rate. Artificial insemination can be the solution for those people.
Artificial insemination also bypasses barriers created by antibodies and inadequate cervical mucus that can damage the sperm or prevent them from entering the woman’s reproductive tract. If the sperm are unable to reach and fertilize an egg, pregnancy cannot occur.
Ovulation Induction & Artificial Insemination
Ovulation induction/superovulation is often used in conjunction with artificial insemination to treat many causes of female infertility including:
- Cervical factor infertility (related to prior surgery)
- Unexplained infertility (infertility in which the exact cause cannot be identified).
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (a common female endocrine disorder)
- Ovarian dysfunction (inability to ovulate normally on your own)
- Infertility associated with endometriosis (a painful inflammatory condition of the female pelvis)
In people with unexplained infertility where all other testing is normal, artificial insemination combined with ovulation induction/superovulation can significantly increase their chances for pregnancy. Fertility specialists generally recommend three to six attempts at artificial insemination before moving on to more progressive treatments.
The Three Goals of Artificial Insemination
Summing up, artificial insemination has three primary purposes:
- Getting a high concentration of sperm into the female reproductive tract to increase the chance of it reaching the egg to achieve fertilization.
- Getting a greater number of sperm high into the female reproductive tract to help overcome mild to moderate male fertility problems.
- Synchronizing timing to optimize a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant.
Insemination, either into the cervix or the uterus is one infertility protocol that can have a high rate of success, depending on each person's diagnosis and specific medical condition. There are many other fertility treatment protocols that are available if you are having trouble conceiving.
For more information about fertility treatment, contact us for a consultation. If you have been trying to conceive for longer than six months, it's worth the phone call.
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Learn more about the cost of IUI or artificial insemination here!