All you need to know about artificial insemination
Have you ever heard of this concept? What do you know about it? Hope you didn’t hear some myths or untrue story? There are so many myths associated with the entire concept of infertility.
If you are familiar with a fertility clinic then this concept should not sound strange. It is one of the most common options for the problem of infertility. Artificial insemination is a simple process that can help couples with the inability to have a child.
The process is not complicated however it requires professional expertise. Therefore, we can say that artificial insemination is a technique used by medical practitioners to help an infertile couple or person have a child.
Artificial insemination is a relatively safe procedure that has been used to facilitate successful conception. The concept began in January 1790, a Scottish surgeon inseminated a woman with her husband’s sperm.
For artificial insemination to take place, certain measures must be put in place.
A willing sperm donor
Medical definition of artificial insemination
Artificial insemination is the deliberate introduction of sperm into the cervix or uterus of the female reproductive system
When the sperm is introduced into the cervix it is called intracervical insemination. If it is introduced into the uterus it is referred to as intrauterine insemination. IUI is the most common type of artificial insemination due to its success rate and widespread usability.
This occurs when a man is unable to keep a firm erection to engage in sexual intercourse. Since the man cannot stabilize his erection, it becomes almost impossible to eject sperm.
This is a problem that causes infertility. Through the help of IUI, the man’s sperm can be collected in a sterile container. It can be done through masturbation or surgery.
The sperm is prepared (liquefied, washed, density gradient). Then it is injected directly into the uterus of the woman.
IUI is also useful in the case of endometriosis.
This is the growth of tissued of the uterine cavity in abnormal locations. This is a major cause of infertility. Endometriosis can lead to blockage of the passageway. Making it difficult for conception to occur.
With the introduction of IUI, women can undergo this process, get pregnant. And deliver their young ones without complications.
This is another cause of infertility in men. The inability of the sperm to move adequately to fertilize an egg. So many men suffer from this particular condition. IUI offers a solution to this issue. With IUI the sperm is directly injected into the uterus. Hence the problem of sperm motility as a cause of infertility can be minimized.
Cervix related problems
In some women, their cervix may contain substances that can kill the sperm. Also, the cervix may not contain enough mucus that is meant to push the sperm to the uterus. IUI can facilitate this process. This can be done by (bypassing the cervix and injecting the sperm directly into the uterus).
Artificial insemination includes intracervical insemination and intrauterine insemination. For the course of this study, we will discuss these two forms of artificial insemination.
Firstly, let’s talk about the general process of artificial insemination.
Process of artificial insemination
The doctor performs some tests in artificial insemination. Some of these tests are done to ensure that the lady is ovulating. The lady is further subjected to ultrasound and blood tests.
All these tests are done to prepare her for the main artificial insemination process. The donor or your partner will be required to submit a semen sample. It can be done from home or in a private room at the hospital.
The sperm is collected after 2-5 days of sexual abstinence. This is done to ensure that the sperm count is high. After the sperm is collected, it is prepared through series of processes.
First, the sperm is allowed to liquefy then, it is washed. Most ladies react negatively to certain chemicals in the sperm. Hence the need to wash the sperm.
The sperm is transferred to a catheter and inserted into the uterus.
Intra cervical insemination
This process can be conducted at home or in a medical facility. It is less common, unlike intrauterine insemination.
In this process, the sperm is inserted into the cervix with a special kind of syringe. The cervix is a part of the female reproductive system. It is located in very close contact with the uterus.
Basically, liquefied semen is loaded into a catheter, it is inserted into the vagina, and emptied into the cervix.
Certain tests are conducted to monitor the ovulation cycle of the woman. Tests include ultrasound. In some cases, women are administered certain medications that can induce ovulation.
The donated sperm sample is collected after liquefaction. It is put into a syringe and inserted into the vagina.
In ICI the woman is required to lie with her back to the bed during the procedure. After the procedure, the lady is expected to remain on the bed for a minimum of 15 minutes. This does not support the myth that raising the legs after sex ensures pregnancy. Rather it is done to allow the sperm to move easily from the cervix into the uterus.
After 15 minutes, the procedure is completed. A pregnancy test should be conducted after 2 weeks to ascertain the success of the procedure.
IUI is another form of artificial insemination (however unlike ICI it is quite popular in the fertility world. It is an easy procedure with a great success rate. In ICI the sperm is inserted into the cervix however in IUI the sperm is injected directly into the uterus.
N: B IUI is completely different from ICSI.
The steps for ICI don’t completely different from those of ICI. However, it is much safer to perform IUI in a medical location.
The lady lies on her back after several tests have been conducted to determine ovulation or after the activation of the ovulation.
The sperm collected is prepared. It is washed to extract certain proteins that are detrimental to the success of the procedure.
A speculum is used to ensure that the uterus can be easily accessed.
The sperm is placed in a catheter and inserted into the uterus through the vagina.
Multiple gestations Due to the activation of ovulation through the use of certain medication. There may be multiple births (twin, triplet, quadrupled).
During the procedure, there is a possibility that bleeding might occur. The process might be simple to perform however it requires skills and precision.
Pelvic-related issues During the process, some women may experience inflammation of the pelvic. A possibility of pelvic infection can also occur after the procedure. The process should be done in a sterile environment to minimize the risk of pelvic infection.
Differences between in-vitro fertilization and artificial insemination
People interchangeably use artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization however these two techniques are completely different. Though they are both options for fertility-related problems. It doesn’t make the procedure the same.
Artificial insemination is an in vivo fertilization. i.e., fertilization takes place within the body.
In vitro fertilization on the other is fertilization that is done outside the body before it is transferred to the body.
Immediately after ovulation is stimulated. The procedure is completed within few hours.
In vitro fertilization involves different stages that require precision and a more meticulous approach.
The success rate of ICI is quite lower than that of IUI.
ICSI is a form of IVF that is widely chosen due to its high success rate.
In ICI the sperm is not washed. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is not carried out.
In IVF preimplantation genetic diagnosis can be performed to screen out negative genetic traits.
Benefits of artificial insemination
It is an opportunity for couples living with infertility to have their own children. It bridges the gap of infertility and puts smiles on the face of the individual or couple.
This is a relatively safe procedure except in rare cases where bleeding or pelvic infections occurs.
Single individuals can have their own kids without the need to adopt a child.
Certain factors affect the success rate of AI, these factors include both male and female causes. They include;
Age of female (maternal age)
Sperm count and motility
Cause of infertility
According to Healthline, a study published showed that ICI has a success of 37.9% while IUI has a greater rate of 40.5%.
Furthermore, another study revealed that preparing a sperm increases the concentration of the sperm.
A lot of couples suffer from infertility however there are so many options available now. A.I is one of the available options with a success rate of 37.9% and 40.5% respectively.
It bypasses a lot of fertility issues to ensure that fertilization takes place. So many people have tried out this process and have succeeded.
If you are searching for an option, try to reach out to the fertility clinic around your vicinity and check out the different options available.