Artificial insemination (AI, also intrauterine insemination — IUI) is a type of assisted reproductive technology that provides the introduction of prepared sperm cells (out of sexual intercourse) with the help of a special tool in the uterus or cervical canal of a woman. This technique allows to solve certain problems associated with both female and male infertility. Artificial insemination has several options that allow to successfully solve the problems of each patient using an individual approach.
How is artificial insemination performed?
The procedure is carried out before the ovulation onset, which is determined by the doctor in various ways. Within a few hours, a sperm is taken from the husband; it is also possible to use material that underwent cryopreservation. The sperm is preliminary prepared — the sperm cells are separated from the seminal fluid by centrifugation. Then the material is placed in a syringe and inserted through a special plastic catheter for insemination directly into the uterine cavity. This method is the most effective. IUI lasts several minutes, does not require anesthesia, and is painless. The woman is under the specialists observation for about 30 minutes after the procedure, then a list of necessary recommendations is given to her and finally she is discharged to home.
Artificial insemination can be carried out by a sperm of a husband or a donor, and from the woman side, the procedure can be carried out with stimulation of ovulation or in a natural cycle. Intrauterine fertilization in the natural cycle using the husband’s sperm is a standard option. It is suitable for women who are married or have a permanent sexual partner, but cannot become pregnant due to the certain circumstances.
Artificial fertilization by donor sperm (AFDS) is used in cases when a woman does not have a permanent partner or when her husband’s sperm is not suitable for conception. In such cases, the genetic material is taken from another man from the sperm bank.
Stimulation of the ovaries is used for insemination using the sperm of the donor and husband. The procedure allows to stimulate the ovulation process and increase the chances of pregnancy.
Indications for artificial insemination from the male side:
- Erection problems.
- Poor sperm quality.
- Severe diseases or anomalies of reproductive organs development that do not allow to have sexual activity.
- Autoimmune diseases.
Intrauterine insemination with husband's sperm is indicated for women in the following cases:
- Significant length of the cervix.
- Disturbance of vagina acidity.
Indications for donor sperm use are low husband sperm quality or high risk of hereditary diseases and malformations.
Efficiency and safety
Analysis of the procedure efficiency showed that the pregnancy is possible in about 12% of cases after the first application of artificial insemination with the husband’s sperm (AIHS). In most cases, the singleton pregnancy develops, but there is a possibility of multifetal pregnancy. The procedure can be repeated, as it does not damage the woman’s health; however, it should be noticed that the lack of effect after 3 cycles should be regarded as an indication for using other methods of assisted reproduction.
One of the key features of the method is its high safety. The absence of general anesthesia, violation of the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, minimal drug stimulation help to minimize all possible risks. The donor sperm must pass a semi-annual quarantine and subsequent laboratory tests, which allows to exclude any infectious and genetic diseases.
Preparation for the AI procedure
Diagnostic procedures are mandatory before the AI procedure. Both partners are examined to choose the proper method of artificial insemination: with or without hormonal stimulation, using the husband or donor sperm. Clinical tests, hormonal, biochemical, HIV and hepatitis, etc.; ultrasound examination and other diagnostic methods are performed. A couple should also be examined by the specialists. If everything is good, they proceed to the next stage; if not, first of all the course of treatment is performed, with follow-up examination and insemination. Both partners can perform all necessary examinations in our clinic; we also provide services for the provision of donor sperm.
When using donor material, the sperm is selected according to the woman/couple wishes. The data of the eyes and hair color, height, body weight, blood type and other donor parameters are attached to each material. Therefore, it is possible to select indicators with best match to the couple qualities.
Therefore, artificial insemination is another assisted reproductive method that can help to find the long-awaited title of parents. However, like any other similar procedure, it has certain subtleties and rules of performance. Maximum efficiency can be achieved only if its implementation is entrusted to an experienced specialist following all his recommendations. The doctors of our center know all nuances to increase the efficiency of the procedure and achieve good results in pregnancy occurrence using the methods of AFDS and AIHS.