Of the various assisted human reproduction treatments available, this is probably the first to be recommend should difficulties falling pregnant persist. Artificial insemination is the least invasive and cost-effective method to increase the likelihood of conceiving.
One out of every four women who undergo artificial insemination manage to fall pregnant at a maximum of three cycles within treatment. In the field of reproductive medicine this is a figure worth taking into account, but could potentially grow should any future parents be willing to become part of such a positive growth in numbers.
What is artificial insemination?
The essential distinction from alternative assisted human reproduction treatments is that, in the case of artificial insemination, fertilisation takes place within the recipient as opposed to a laboratory. Instead, semen is deposited in the uterus via a catheter, and is among the leading procedures which can achieve pregnancy.
Artificial insemination is neither complex or requires hospitalisation. Aside from visitation to our fertility clinic where basic vaginal ultrasound scans and tests are administered, the procedure of artificial insemination can be completed in a matter of minutes. Upon fertilisation, patients are free to go home.
Further examining the practice of artificial insemination there are different variants to the procedure. Two treatments are related to the origin of the sperm provided – whether it be the partner or a donor – while implantation can be intravaginal, intrafollicular, intratubal and intracervical insemination depending on where sperm is introduced. The most common among the aforementioned is intrauterine insemination owing to the highest success rate.
When is artificial insemination recommended?
Artificial insemination is the closest treatment to conceiving naturally. The aim is to elevate the probability of pregnancy with minimal intervention focused on two aspects: concentrating the amount of sperm and reducing distance travelled to reach the egg. In this sense, fertilisation is simplified.
Artificial insemination is recommended for couples who have failed to conceive over an extended period of time. While not effective for severe cases of infertility due to not being overly interventionist, it is a recommended treatment in this intermediate field.
The premises for artificial insemination are the recipient is no older than 35-years-age, has a good ovarian reserve and a functional fallopian tube, while it is also preferable to undergo treatment as soon as sterility problems begin to persist for couples such as:
- Unknown causes (idiopathic sterility)
- Women with endometriosis
- Diagnosed polycystic ovary syndrome or further ovulation disorders
- Sexual problems such as vaginismus, impotence or retrograde ejaculation.
- Abnormalities in the cervix or lack of cervical mucus
- Poor or low-quality semen
- Homosexual female couples or single women should also consider artificial insemination using donor sperm, although if both members of a same-sex relationship want to participate in the pregnancy ROPA is recommended.
Stages of artificial insemination
Artificial insemination is a straight-forward assisted human reproduction treatment. The process of undergoing artificial insemination takes around 15 days and begins on the first day of a menstrual cycle.
Full gynaecological examination and analysis of sperm is required prior to treatment, while tests are also administered to detect potential infectious diseases including but not limited to: hepatitis C, AIDS or syphilis.
1. Ovulation control and stimulation
Prior examination of a menstrual cycle will be undertaken, while development is controlled by a course of hormonal medications as a form of ovarian stimulation in certain cases, often lower in dosage than that used in other assisted human reproductive treatments such as IVF.
Between day ten and 12, when the follicles are correctly sized, an injection of hCG will be administered to initiate ovulation. After around 36 hours, insemination is executed.
2. Sperm capacity
On the date insemination is scheduled, the laboratory will receive a fresh sperm sample which will be thawed if provided by a sperm bank. The most active spermatozoa are then prepared and selected to fertilise the egg.
Sperm is transferred at our clinic and does not require sedation. A few minutes of precautionary rest is advised before getting dressed and going home.
Artificial Insemination Success Rate
Data on success rates using artificial insemination ranges between 15% to 25%. It is worth taking into account procedures of greater complexity often yield higher success rates than cases requiring minimal medical intervention.
Different factors can also increase the probability of conceiving. Women over 36-years-old can suffer from lower pregnancy rates, while the quality of semen can also determine pregnancy – to the point if insemination is carried out using donor sperm, success rates are proven to be higher. Dependant on circumstances and severity of cases, such variants will be considered during medical consultation.
In Spain there are over 20,000 artificial inseminations a year. Adjudging success rates and affordability, existing doubts are minimalised as artificial insemination is recommended for various cases… don’t let this opportunity pass you by!