Parenthood is that phase of life that almost all couples look forward to. Growing together with a little life is a beautiful feeling. Though becoming parents is a big thing, however, not everybody is blessed with it naturally. For these couples, artificial insemination can be beneficial. So let’s understand everything about artificial insemination.
What is Artificial Insemination?
Artificial insemination (AI) is essentially a process where the semen from the man is implanted into the cervix or uterus of the woman for conceiving. Artificial insemination in humans is carried out through different fertilization methods. This treatment boosts the chances of a woman becoming pregnant.
Types of Artificial Insemination:
The two methods of artificial insemination are intracervical insemination (ICI) and intrauterine insemination (IUI).
1. Intracervical Insemination (ICI):
Intracervical insemination is a procedure that helps to insert the sperm into the cervix. This process can be carried at the clinic or home. Given below are the steps to be followed:
- The woman needs to track the ovulation cycle by adopting the calendar method, taking the basal temperature, by ultrasound, or combining all these approaches.
- At times the doctor can even recommend medicines to stimulate ovulation and increase the chances of producing several eggs.
- The sperm is donated for the process or even taken from a donor.
- The doctor then inserts the sperm into the vagina with the help of a syringe.
- The woman is supposed to lie down for about 30 minutes for the sperm to travel up to the cervix and stay there for some time.
2. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI):
It is a procedure that helps in inserting sperm directly into the uterus. The steps are like that of Intracervical insemination and are performed at the doctor’s clinic. Some extra steps in this procedure are:
- The semen is picked and washed for removing any probable protein levels that could alter the fertilization results.
- This process also concentrates the sperm and that even boosts the chances for the woman to conceive.
- In this process, a doctor makes use of a speculum which is a special instrument that is inserted within the vagina to place the sperm in the uterus.
Artificial Insemination Procedure:
During this procedure, a fine tube called a catheter is inserted into the uterus or cervix for depositing a sample of the sperm. This procedure aims to increase the chances of fertilization.
Production of Eggs:
- The most imperative thing in artificial insemination is the production of an egg whether it is induced through a process or naturally.
- Women release only one egg in a month but for this process, the woman can be given some drugs that help to produce multiple and healthy zygotes which also makes the chances of insemination higher.
Tracking the Eggs:
- It is also imperative to track the ovulation cycle to be able to inseminate at the proper time which is a major factor for the success of the procedure.
- An ovulation kit or ultrasound helps to monitor the production and growth of the eggs.
Collection and Washing the Sperm:
- During the time the woman gets monitored for the eggs, the male partner needs to give a sample of the sperm.
- This sample is then picked up and washed so that all the best sperms are assembled.
Insemination of the Woman:
- After the production of the egg and the concentration of the best sperm, it is the appropriate time for inseminating the woman.
- A catheter, which is a long and thin tube is used for placing the washed sperms straight in the uterus with the help of the vaginal opening.
Testing for Success:
- Post the process of artificial insemination, the waiting period for taking a pregnancy test is around two weeks.
- There is a check-up that must be done post the process to confirm if it’s successful.
Artificial Insemination Kit:
The procedure of artificial insemination is a systematic one and there is a special kit made for the same. The artificial insemination kit includes the following:
- 1 x Digital BBT thermometer
- 6 x 10ml syringes
- 2 x FSH female fertility tests
- 6 x Ovulation tests
- 6 x 10ml syringes
- 3 x Pregnancy tests
- 3 x Urine collection containers
- 6 x Semen sample containers
- Basal body temp/ fertility chart
- Insemination instructions
Artificial Insemination at Home:
Artificial insemination can even be carried at home by a woman. However, certain pointers should be kept in mind by her while undergoing the process. The process needs to be scheduled at home by following the points below:
Scheduling Artificial Insemination at Home:
For scheduling insemination at home, one needs to take note of a few things:
- It is important to understand the ovulation cycle of the woman.
- It is imperative to track the fertile day
- Ovulation generally happens 10-15 days after the first day of the menstrual cycle.
- Another sign to track is the sticky discharge from the vagina.
- The woman needs to keep a check on the normal body temperature as it tends to increase at the time of ovulation.
- The basal temperature should be taken with the help of a basal thermometer immediately after waking up.
Process of Artificial Insemination at Home:
Let us ponder the few points that are required to carry the artificial insemination procedure at home. Some of them are:
- Sterilized needless syringe
- Few pillows, napkins, or towels
- A clean bowl to keep the semen
- Soothing music for relaxation purposes
- The semen should be collected in a clean container
- The tip of the syringe should be dipped in the bowl containing the semen.
- Following which the semen is sucked by the syringe and if required, medical saline is added to extract the residue, if any.
- The lady should use sterilized items and wash her hands before and after the process.
- Post this, the woman needs to be lying down for at least thirty minutes.
- It is important to keep the hips elevated for which a thick pillow can be kept under her waist.
- Now the syringe can be inserted into the vagina of the woman. this needs to be done with precision so that the semen does not escape.
- It is advisable that once the semen gets injected, the lady should have an orgasm so that the muscles contract and take in any semen that is left.
What is the Success Rate of Artificial Insemination?
- The chances for one to get pregnant with artificial insemination are close to 15 percent while by the natural way the chances are as high as 30 percent.
- Success rates for artificial insemination will also differ from one couple to the other.
- The artificial insemination procedure is more successful and higher for young women.
- For women who are 35 years and above the probability of getting pregnant is about 20 percent.
- For women who are 40 and above, the chances of getting pregnant are close to 10 percent.
Reasons for the Low Success Rate of Artificial Insemination:
There are many times that this process fails. The reasons for this can be:
- If the quality of the sperm is poor.
- There is an acute case of endometriosis.
- Age factor.
- There is no damage done to the fallopian tubes.
- In case the fallopian tubes have any blockage.
Advantages of Artificial Insemination:
- The process of artificial insemination only needs to use techniques to inseminate the sperm through a tube, while the remaining process of forming a zygote is done naturally.
- The process of artificial insemination is less intrusive as compared to other processes like IVF.
- This procedure is also less- costly as compared to other procedures.
- Artificial insemination works the best for all male fertility issues.
- It is a short and not a very painful procedure.
Disadvantages of Artificial Insemination:
- The process of artificial insemination is not a good option for women who are 40 and above.
- As soon as the women release the egg, the doctor should be informed so that the insemination process can be started. This means the process needs to be monitored closely & continuously by the woman as well as the doctor.
- One might have to undergo many cycles to attain success.
Artificial insemination is a safe, and pocket-friendly procedure that is used by many couples for fulfilling their dreams. Although it has its limitations, yet if followed thoroughly, successful results can be achieved. One should however undertake the steps by consulting a medical practitioner.