One of the most common reasons behind the infertility problems among couples is the inability of the sperm to reach a matured egg and fertilize it for conception to occur. This is the reason why Artificial insemination has become so common. It is simply a procedure in which sperm is transferred artificially into a woman’s reproductive organ such as the uterus, cervix or even fallopian tubes. This procedure mitigates the problem of sperm being unable to reach a healthy egg during ovulation. It is usually prescribed for couples who are not yet looking for more complicated infertility solutions.
Infertility Problems For Which Artificial Insemination May be Prescribed
Since this procedure helps sperm to reach the released egg faster, artificial insemination comes in handy for couples facing infertility as a result of complications in the woman’s reproductive system which blocks the sperm from reaching the egg. The procedure can also be helpful for men whose sperms do not have the strength to swim towards the egg after ejaculation in the vagina. If you are suffering from endometriosis or another type of infertility, intrauterine insemination may be prescribed for you.
Insemination may also be prescribed if the cause of a couple’s fertility problems is yet to be diagnosed even after extensive tests.
Since the sperm is transferred directly to the uterus, cervix or fallopian tube to meet an egg, ovulation is very important and can be the difference between success and failure. Your fertility specialist will conduct the necessary tests with fertility monitors, blood tests and ultrasound scans to confirm that ovulation is imminent before conducting artificial insemination.
Once your ovulation is confirmed, a semen sample will be collected from your partner. The best way to generate optimum quality samples is for him to stay away from any type of sexual activity for about 3-6 days. Many fertility facilities have private rooms where your partner can masturbate to retrieve some sperm. Such rooms may come with sexually stimulating graphic or audiovisual aids to help make the process easier. For couples whose homes are a few minutes away from the fertility clinic, you and your partner may be asked to generate the sperm at home via sexual intercourse with a condom for semen collection. It is vital for the retrieved sperm to be treated in a lab within 30 minutes to maximize the chances of successful fertilization. The sperm treatment process is known as washing and may involve the sperm being liquefied at room temperature for about half an hour. Then, the healthiest sperm will be separated from the rest after the addition of a chemical known as cryoprotectant. The optimized sperm is collected into a centrifuge and placed into a catheter for transfer to the uterus via the vagina and cervix.
If you are scared of undergoing artificial insemination, there is no need to be because the procedure is one of the easiest fertility treatment options available and comes with little or no discomfort to the woman. To optimize the chances of fertilization, the woman may be required to lie down on her back for about 30 minutes to an hour after the procedure.
Like many forms of infertility treatments, success is determined by the unique circumstances of each couple including:
- The woman’s age
- The quality of the egg
- The quality of the sperm
- Health of the fallopian tube
While lots of couples have been successful in achieving conception through artificial insemination, keep in mind that it is not suitable for everyone. For some couples, the procedure may have to be conducted multiple times before pregnancy can occur. Others may not achieve success even after trying so many times.
Fertility specialists may advice you to undergo the procedure at least three times before laying other infertility treatment options in front of you. Don’t forget that such options are likely to be more expensive and complex. Even if your dream of getting pregnant doesn’t come true via this procedure, you should continue to be hopeful because there are other averagely more successful infertility treatments available including In Vitro Fertilization.
Success rates for the procedure vary from couple to couple. On the average, 15- 20 percent of artificial insemination procedures result in successful pregnancies. Success rates increase with repeat cycles of the procedure and almost 70 percent of couples achieve success by the 6th cycle of artificial insemination.
Choosing a Treatment Facility
The treatment facility you select for this procedure can determine whether you are successful or not. This is simply because some fertility specialists are more skilled and experienced than others so getting the procedure done by them can improve your chances of success. Cost is another factor to consider when selecting a fertility treatment facility. You should get a quote from 3-5 clinics to help you select the most suitable one for you, depending on your budget. Keep in mind that some fertility clinics intentionally leave out additional costs such as hormone treatments and other types of medications you may need, in order to appear cheaper than competitors. Always clarify whether a quote includes the cost of everything you will need for the procedure.