The Whats, Whys, and Wherefores of Artificial Insemination

One of the most common types of fertility treatment is artificial insemination. Within this category, there are various techniques, including intrauterine insemination and IVF. For many people, it is a viable solution for producing a child in various circumstances. Here are several examples of situations where you might choose to undergo the process:

  • You are 36 years old. You have never been married and right now, you don?t have a boyfriend. However, you love children, have a stable income, and a home of your own. You realise that the years are passing and you really want a baby. As you don?t have a partner, you decide to go the route of artificial insemination so that you will be able to experience the joy of raising a child.
  • You have been married for about five years, but you and your husband are unable to conceive. Tests have shown that your husband has a low sperm count or poor sperm motility (meaning that the sperm don?t move well enough). Therefore, you look into insemination clinics to see if you can conceive a baby that way.
  • You and your partner have tried every way you can to get pregnant. But no matter how many tests and examinations you do, you can?t find any reason for not conceiving. As the years pass, you decide not to wait anymore and you go for artificial reproduction.

What is Artificial Insemination?

The dictionary definition of Artificial Insemination is:

“The introduction of semen into the oviduct or uterus by some means other than sexual intercourse.”

The principle of human insemination – the implantation of sperm inside the woman?s cervix or uterus in a non-sexual, clinical manner in order to start a pregnancy – was the subject of research from the late 1800s onwards (although the theory was discussed at an earlier point than that).

Since then, the insemination process has become a widely accepted method of conception. Various methods exist, including:

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – Putting warmed, prepared sperm into the uterus around the time of ovulation. Very often, fertility drugs are used to stimulate ovulation, depending on the nature of the fertility problem that the couple is suffering from. Either your partner?s sperm, fresh or frozen, will be used, or it will be sperm from a sperm donor, which may have been preserved in a sperm bank. Conceiving in this way can carry a risk of multiple births if fertility drugs are used as well.
  • Intratubal insemination – This is when the insemination is in the fallopian tube. This method is sometimes used in conjunction with IUI.
  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF) – This is when the sperm and eggs are fertilised in a petri dish and then injected into the woman, as opposed to simply being artificially inseminated and left to be fertilised inside her body. IVF is a more expensive form of artificial reproduction and is more technical. Therefore, it is usually used after less expensive options have failed.

Self Insemination

Some women do not want to undergo the experience of visiting clinics, and they prefer to try doing this at home by inserting the sperm into the cervix via the vagina. If the woman does not have any major fertility problems, the artificial insemination process does not have to be too difficult or technical. However, for those who do, this may well not be the ideal solution.

To this end, it is possible to purchase an insemination kit. If you have a partner to provide you with sperm, the kit includes a cup for him to ejaculate the sperm into. If you don?t, then you can order donor sperm from a sperm bank or live donor. By using the insemination equipment in the kit, you can successfully insert the sperm into the vagina and cervix.

To read exactly how to conduct this process yourself at home, click here.

Doing everything at home does sometimes work, but you should remember that it is not successful for everyone and it is not monitored so well and that you should consult with your doctor or medical professional before trying this.

The Cost of Artificial Insemination

So what are the costs of artificial insemination? For many women, this can be a crucial factor in deciding which method to use. Although only a doctor could tell you which method would be best from a medical point of view, as we have said above there can still be several options available within those parameters.

In some countries, depending on the circumstances, costs may be partially covered by the public health system. In some countries, this coverage only exists for the first two births. So if you are thinking of having a third baby and this is the policy of the country where you live, you may have to think very carefully about your options.

Apart from the financial side of the story, there are also human costs of artificial insemination. For example, if you are using donor sperm, does the fact that you won?t know the biological father of your child bother you? And what about the risk of incest as your child grows up? They could meet and marry a half-sibling without even knowing it. This lack of knowledge about the donor also means that you have no idea which medical conditions or genetic defects your child has a possibility of inheriting or carrying. While no one says that these are reasons not to allow donor insemination, these are all factors to consider before you start.

You should also take into consideration that disappointments can occur with treatments involving artificial fertilisation. Can you handle it if this happens? How many times are you prepared to try?

Artificial insemination is a treatment that is well worth trying, but you must make an informed choice first.

Baby Directory

X click to search
swap and share tips
with other mums
Search for a Tip...
...add a question +
×

add your question

×
X