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Artificial insemination is a fertility treatment that delivers sperm to the female using a tube to reach the cervix for intracervical insemination (ICI) or the uterus for intrauterine insemination (IUI). This procedure is most commonly used to achieve pregnancy when there are male or female infertility factors and when using donor sperm.
ICI and IUI are very quick and painless procedures that can be attempted many times without any injury to the receiving party. Insemination can be performed using either a natural cycle (timed to the woman's normal ovulation cycle) or a stimulated cycle (which uses follicle stimulating hormone).
A patient can discuss with her physician, which method is preferable. Typically, the least aggressive method which is the natural cycle, is attempted before using follicle stimulating hormones. In general, women who are ovulating regularly undergo several cycles of donor inseminations without ovarian stimulation because the risk of multiple pregnancy and its consequences is reduced. Many people feel that 2-3 cycles of ICI and IUI are the maximum number that should be attempted before moving on to a more aggressive fertility treatment option. A common suggested success rate for artificial insemination without significant female fertility factors would be 12.5% per IUI cycle. The rates may either increase with use of either Clomid (clomiphene citrate) or stimulated cycle (FSH).
The insemination procedure involves injecting prepared sperm into the female reproductive tract through the vagina. This procedure is performed by a physician, a skilled registered nurse, or other specialists with special training and experience in the field of fertility treatment.
The Fertility Center of California can provide two types of inseminations depending on your doctor's instructions:
- Intracervical insemination (depositing of sperm into the cervical opening).
- Intrauterine insemination (depositing of sperm into the uterus). In this case, sperm must be specifically prepared or "washed" to prevent possible complications.
In both cases, inseminations are performed at the time of or prior to ovulation. Ovulation is determined by monitoring the menstrual cycle, measuring the basal body temperature, evaluating the quality of cervical mucus, using ovulation predictor kits and/or gynecological sonograms. Contact our office to ask any questions you may have and to schedule a consultation.
The insemination procedure takes 5 to 10 minutes and is usually performed once or twice a month until pregnancy is achieved. One vial of sperm is used for one insemination attempt. However, some physicians like to use two vials per insemination or even perform two inseminations per cycle. No one can predict in advance how many vials are needed to achieve a pregnancy. The vials can also be used in advanced reproductive techniques such as IVF. If the male partner is infertile, learn more about our sperm donor program.