The insertion of sperm into a woman’s womb through natural intercourse is known as insemination. If sperm is introduced artificially it is known as artificial insemination. Artificial insemination is a treatment for infertility in both men and women who are unable to conceive despite trying for over one year. It is a technique in which sperm are injected directly into a woman’s fallopian tube, uterus or cervix, to facilitate fertilization (fusion of egg and sperm).
Artificial insemination is usually recommended for couples with unexplained infertility, men with low sperm counts or mobility, and woman with unreceptive cervical mucus, endometriosis and abnormal reproductive organs.
Before insemination, your doctor will ensure you are ovulating. Physicians may prescribe medication to stimulate the ovaries and improve egg production. Semen is collected from your partner at the clinic. If your partner cannot produce healthy sperm, sperm from a donor can be obtained from a sperm bank. The sperm sample is washed and processed to select only the most active sperm.
During the procedure, your doctor injects the healthy sample of semen directly into the uterus through a catheter (long tube). After the procedure, you will be asked to remain on your back for 15 to 45 minutes, after which you can resume your normal activities. The entire procedure causes minimal discomfort and is completed in a short time.
Artificial insemination is relatively safe and not associated with serious complications; however, certain risks may occur such as vaginal bleeding due to the placement of the catheter inside the uterus.