In artificial insemination, a doctor inserts sperm directly into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. The most common method is called “intrauterine insemination (IUI),” when a doctor places the sperm in the uterus.
Why use it?
Artificial insemination can help people who are trying to treat infertility.
Artificial insemination can benefit couples or individuals with a range of needs.
In the United States, 6 percent of women aged 15 to 44 years are unable to conceive or maintain a pregnancy after one year of unprotected sex.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that a woman should consider seeing a fertility doctor to discuss treatment if she is:
- unable to conceive within one year of trying
- prone to irregular periods
- over 35 years of age and trying to conceive
IUI can help in the following medical situations:
- IUI can help support a couple that produces healthy sperm and eggs but is unable to have intercourse, possibly due to a medical condition, such as erectile dysfunction.
- In women with cervical factor infertility, the cervix either does not produce the mucus that helps sperm travel to the womb, or the mucus contains a substance that kills the sperm. Artificial insemination can help bypass this problem.
- Endometriosis causes the cells from the womb lining start to grow outside the womb, for example, in the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. Artificial insemination can be successful in mild to moderate cases of endometriosis. Many women with endometriosis can conceive naturally.
In rare cases, a woman may have an allergic reaction to certain proteins in sperm or semen. The artificial insemination can remove most of these before applying the sperm.
- Some men are unable to produce enough sperm for successful fertilization, or their sperm may not be sufficiently motile. This means the sperm cannot move towards the egg effectively.
- Before the treatment, a man can freeze some of his sperm for future use in artificial insemination.