What does Artificial Insemination mean?
Artificial insemination is used to treat infertility by inserting a man's sperm into a woman's cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. The most common type of artificial insemination is intrauterine insemination (IUI) which places the sperm into the uterus.
Pros of Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is a common infertility treatment because it has few side-effects, and it is simple. Artificial insemination is most commonly used if a man has a low sperm count, a woman has endometriosis, or the woman has unreceptive cervical mucus and the mucus in her cervix is "hostile" to sperm and prevents sperm from getting into the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Cons of Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is not as successful as more advanced infertility treatments. For this reason, many couples will use artificial insemination as the first infertility treatment step and may have to advance to more aggressive treatments if it does not work.
For example, artificial insemination is less successful for older women or women who have low quality eggs. It also is not good for men if the man has very poor sperm quality.
Finally, although artificial insemination is a relatively simple procedure, some women do have cramping during the procedure and light bleeding afterward.
Considerations prior to Artificial Insemination
Whether or not to use artificial insemination is a big decision which should be thoughtfully and carefully considered.
First, as mentioned above, it can have several advantages over other conceptive tools because it is one of the most cost-effective ways to address both male and female infertility. Also, because the sperm is injected directly into the uterus, artificial insemination can help maximize the chance of success, although success rates vary considerably based on a couple’s health and age.
Medical experts do suggest, however, that most couples should wait up to a year (if they are less than 35 years of age) and up to six months (for those over 35 years of age) before using artificial insemination.
Another consideration for many couples is the cost of the procedure. Given that the success rate varies from 10 to 20% it is likely that the procedure may have to be done multiple times, and each artificial insemination typically costs between $300 and $500 per attempt. This can get very expensive if multiple inseminations are needed.
Finally, many women never conceive using artificial insemination and may end up having to pay for much more expensive and aggressive treatments.
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