Procreation Without Recreation – Artificial Insemination
Thanks for reading our previous blog post about how to get pregnant with your frozen sperm. Here we’re going to elaborate on artificial insemination, because we know some of you have been thirsty for more.
To recap, artificial insemination is a fertility procedure that uses a catheter to directly insert sperm into a woman’s reproductive tract. Types of artificial insemination include intravaginal insemination (IVI), intrauterine insemination (IUI), intrauterine tuboperitoneal insemination (IUTPI), intracervical insemination (ICI) and intratubal insemination (ITI).
Why artificial insemination (AI)?
Often, people who are experiencing infertility (unable to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sex) will be advised by their doctor to try artificial insemination. Compared to in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination is simpler to do and has little to no side effects. Also, because the artificial insemination process injects the sperm straight to the womb, it has a shorter trip to make than when having sexual intercourse (and therefore less obstacles on the way).
What happens during artificial insemination?
To ensure the woman involved in the artificial insemination procedure is ovulating, her doctor will use an ultrasound, blood tests or ovulation prediction kit. Sometimes before the artificial insemination procedure, she may be placed on fertility drugs in order for her body to ovulate several eggs. Depending on which type of artificial insemination procedure is done, the sperm from the male (either fresh or frozen) will need to be “washed” beforehand to avoid cramping and increase the likelihood of conception.
Some of the names for the types of artificial insemination procedures are a bit self-explanatory. To be clear, we do not advise one method over another, and we always recommend consulting with your doctor.
Intravaginal insemination (IVI) places the sperm inside the vaginal canal, close to the cervix. This form of insemination is also known as the “turkey baster” method, and often people will try to do this at home. The rest are more involved, and therefore require a visit to a doctor’s office. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) involves sperm being placed into the uterus. Intrauterine tuboperitoneal insemination (IUTPI) is a form of IUI, using a larger volume of sperm. Intracervical insemination (ICI) places the sperm into the cervix. Intratubal insemination (ITI) is not common, because it is more invasive and success rates are similar to the other types of artificial insemination. This type of AI introduces sperm into a fallopian tube, or into the peritoneal cavity (near the fallopian tubes).
How successful is artificial insemination?
Success rates for artificial insemination vary depending on which type of procedure you choose, how many cycles you try, whether you’re taking fertility medications and your age. If this is something you’re considering, we recommend speaking with your doctor.
For those who opt for artificial insemination, you will need more sperm. We are usually able to extract between 3 to 5 vials of sperm per kit. Depending on the factors mentioned above, as well as how many children you’re planning to have, the number of kits you should order will vary. To learn more about how many kits to order, you can read our previous post here.
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