Artificial insemination achieved widespread popularity as an infertility treatment in the 1970s. Intracervical insemination (ICI), the original technique used for artificial insemination (AI), is fairly uncomplicated in nature. The most common AI technique used today, intrauterine insemination (IUI), offers certain advantages over ICI. Below you will find information on artificial insemination, including the benefits and cost of artificial insemination and an explanation of the different artificial insemination procedures performed.
What is Artificial Insemination?
Artificial insemination, or AI, is a fertilization procedure in which sperm is artificially placed into a woman’s cervix (intracervical insemination) or uterus (intrauterine insemination). During artificial insemination treatment, the woman’s menstrual cycle is closely monitored using ovarian kits, ultrasounds, and blood tests. The semen to be implanted is “washed” in a laboratory, which increases the chances of fertilization while removing unnecessary, potentially harmful chemicals. The semen is inserted into the woman, and if the procedure is successful, she conceives.
Success rates for artificial insemination vary based on the type of fertility problem being treated and the age of the patient. Most women who choose artificial insemination have a 5 to 25 percent chance of becoming pregnant with each menstrual cycle. These chances increase if you take fertility drugs in conjunction with the procedure.
Artificial Insemination Procedures
Artificial insemination procedures are advanced forms of fertility treatment that involve the use of a thin, flexible tube to precisely place donor sperm into a woman's reproductive tract. Before the procedure, the sperm to be used is washed and concentrated to increase the likelihood of a conception. Below is a brief overview of the two main types of artificial insemination, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracervical insemination (ICI), both of which can be performed by a reproductive specialist at your local fertility clinic. Please use the links provided for a more comprehensive examination of artificial insemination procedures or to learn about in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Intracervical Insemination (ICI)
Intracervical insemination, or ICI, is one of the most commonly performed types of artificial insemination. ICI is a relatively quick and usually painless procedure that deposits donor sperm directly into the cervix, dramatically increasing the chances that the sperm will make its way through the uterus and fallopian tubes, where it can fertilize the egg. Typically less costly than intrauterine insemination (see below), the ICI procedure produces high success rates.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is the most commonly performed method of artificial insemination by husband (AIH). Often simpler and less expensive than in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination is an effective treatment for some forms of infertility. When combined with ovarian stimulation, IUI – which places sperm in the fallopian tubes – produces high fertilization success rates. As a form of artificial insemination, IUI is good for couples with unidentifiable sources of infertility as well as for couples in which the man has some sperm deficiencies or the woman has cervical mucus problems.
Artificial Insemination Using Donor Sperm
Married women can choose to be inseminated with their husbands' sperm (provided the sperm is viable) or with the sperm of a donor from a sperm bank, a process called artificial insemination by donor (AID). A married woman may use a sperm donation if artificial insemination by husband (AIH) is not an option due to male factor infertility; a single woman may elect AID in order to have a baby by herself.
Artificial insemination using donor sperm may also be a solution to patients who cannot afford more advanced treatment such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or for couples whose male partner could transfer genetic disorders to the embryo. Using a screened donor’s sperm eliminates this danger.
Benefits of Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is a revolutionary fertility procedure with numerous benefits. The AI technique creates an avenue to pregnancy for couples faced with male infertility or female infertility. Further, AI by donor allows sperm to be tested and screened prior to insemination, reducing the likelihood of passing a genetic disorder on to the child. Another benefit of artificial insemination is that it allows same-sex couples to conceive a child. A fertility specialist in your area will be able to provide you with additional information on the benefits of artificial insemination.
Cost of Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination procedures tend to be costly due in part to the expertise required to perform them. In addition, most clinics that offer AI are self-funding and operate on a commercial basis. Generally, the cost of artificial insemination includes:
- The cost of investigation and diagnosis
- The cost of drug therapy
- The cost of the AI procedure (the intracervical insemination procedure is typically less expensive than the intrauterine artificial insemination procedure)
- The cost of the hospital stay
Other charges may apply; be sure to talk with your fertility specialist about the total cost of artificial insemination. Also ask your physician about any infertility treatment financing options that may be available. Financing can make the cost of your treatment affordable.
Locate Artificial Insemination Clinics in Your Area
DocShop is a one-of-a-kind online resource that can help you locate a qualified artificial insemination specialist in your area. DocShop provides you with a direct connection to highly regarded medical professionals and can direct you to their practice websites. If you would like to learn more about the cost or benefits of artificial insemination, or if you would like to arrange a consultation with a fertility specialist, DocShop will make it easy for you. Find an artificial insemination specialist in your area today.