Artificial Insemination

History of Artificial Insemination

Artificial Insemination (AI) is one of the oldest Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures. Initially, artificial insemination was only practiced in livestock breeding. However due to its success in livestock, the method was later tried in human beings as a remedy for infertility. It gave promising results at the research stage and later became medically approved for use in human beings. Artificial insemination involves insertion of semen containing sperms directly into the woman’s womb to increase the chances of conception.

Artificial insemination is an effective ART method that can be utilized to overcome infertility. The doctor analyzes the conditions and the health history of the couple or woman (in case she is single) and helps in making the final decision on the method of artificial insemination to be used. In addition, other factors such as the overall cost of the process, health effects and reliability should be considered. Finally, note that both donor sperms and donor eggs can be used in artificial insemination depending on the problem at hand.

What Am I In For? The Preparations

The sperms from the male partner or an external donor are collected through processes such as masturbation, electrical stimulation or use of a collection condom. The collected sperms are then frozen for future use. Depending on the type of artificial insemination to be used, a number of additional processes might follow. These may include separation and removal of low motility sperms and washing to increase the chances of fertilization. In addition, this can be followed by diluting to form a number of vials for use during re-trial.

The female partner is examined by closely observing her menstrual cycle and vaginal mucus changes in order to fix the time to maximize the chances for success. In addition, blood tests, ultrasound tests, and ovulation kits may be used.

Artificial Insemination – What Happens

There are several methods of artificial insemination available today. The most common ones are as follows:

1. Intracervical Insemination (ICI)

This involves direct injection of fresh or frozen semen into the woman’s cervix by use of a syringe. The injected sperms swim from the neck of the cervix through the cervix mucus into the fallopian tube where fertilization takes place.

2. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

The sperms undergo preparation including washing and removal of low motility sperm, and then are introduced into the woman’s womb.

3. Intrauterine Tuboperitoneal Insemination (IUTPI)

In this method, the cervix is closed by clamping to avoid leakage. The insemination fluid is then introduced into both the fallopian tube and the uterus. This increases the chances of conception compared to the other methods.

Success Rate

The chances of success of IUI are a function of the age of the woman and the quality of the man’s sperm after preparation. Some say that the range of success rate are between 5% – 20%, where 20% includes prior fertility treatment before the IUI.

When to Consider Artificial Insemination

– In the case where sperm motility is low: when the sperms cannot swim fast enough through the cervical mucus during a sexual intercourse, the chances of conception are very low. However, the problem can be solved through the use of artificial insemination.

– When the male partner suffers from erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation: if the partner cannot maintain erection during a sexual intercourse, conception is impossible. On the other hand, premature ejaculation leads to the introduction of sperms at the wrong time before the female is adequately stimulated to release sufficient cervical mucus to allow the sperms to swim through. Another related common problem is low sperm count. In this case, a large volume of semen contains a limited number of sperms, thus lowering the chances of conception.

– When the female partner suffers from endometriosis: moderate endometriosis can be bypassed by use of artificial insemination. Endometriosis is a condition associated with growths in the uterine lining.

– When the female partner has cervical problems: the chances of conception are very low in the case of thick or insufficient cervical mucus.

– In the case of unexplained infertility: there are some cases in which a couple fails to conceive a child without any concrete reason. In such a case, artificial insemination becomes a viable choice for the couple.

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2 Responses to Artificial Insemination

  1. Annie on March 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Jennifer,

    Is the third method that you mention above, IUTPI, is it painful when they clamp the end of the cervix?


  2. Jennifer Myers on March 7, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Hi Annie,

    Please see my Medical Disclaimer. I am not a doctor nor any medical professional. But I see that on other sites online they report that the IUTPI process is not painful.

    Hoping this helps,