Artificial Insemination is One of Many Choices
Artificial insemination, or AI, is a technique used to help people become pregnant. The technique was first pioneered in livestock production for cattle and other domestic animals. It has become a medically recognized standard for human use in assisted reproductive technology.
Sperm donor insemination is used when the male partner in a man/woman couple is not able to produce useable sperm. This can be because of injury or illness or just not being able to produce the right quality sperm to fertilize an egg. This process is of use to single women or lesbian women couples that would like to have a child but do not have access to sperm.
Not all AI is achieved using non-related donors. Sometimes there is a physical obstacle to a woman being able to use her own partner’s sperm. In this type of situation, AI is also used. Using the partner’s sperm, the woman may have to undergo other types of treatment such as IVF to achieve pregnancy.
A variety of techniques are used to accomplish this procedure depending on needs. Intrauterine insemination is one technique where sperm is placed directly into a woman’s uterus. This method works best with women under the age of 30. Intracervical insemination is considered the easiest of these methods. It uses a needle to place sperm at the cervix opening. This mimics the natural process and needs to be done within the window of opportunity for ovulation. Intrauterine tuboperitoneal insemination is a technique in which insemination fluid is placed in the fallopian tubes and uterus. The cervix is temporarily clamped shut to avoid the fluid from escaping. This technique is used when infertility cannot be explained or other conditions like mild or moderate endometriosis.
Sperm is collected from donors by way of masturbation or the use of an electrical stimulation device. The fluid is collected in a type of condom and may be frozen for storage or used immediately. The sperm may be “washed” which means it is stripped of some of its components. This is done in a lab and helps increase the chance of fertilization.
The success rates of this technique vary. Much will depend on the woman. Factors that affect this will be her age and egg quality. Unlike men who have no trouble fathering a child as senior citizens, women are on a much stricter timetable. The younger the woman, the better her chances are at becoming pregnant. Women tend to have more trouble becoming pregnant, as they get closer to 40. This is not a magic number for cut off by any means but just a general rule of thumb. Artificial insemination works for many of the older women who use it.