Tips For Those Considering Artificial Insemination

One of the by-products of modern life is higher infertility, as more and more people prefer to ensure their career and financial security before going for children. In cases of male infertility, Artificial Insemination offers a lot of hope for the affected couples. However, general awareness about Artificial Insemination is low, and the prospect can lead to anxiety and stress. Here is a brief introduction with tips that may be useful ...
Tips for those Considering Artificial Insemination
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ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION is one of the last resorts for those couples, where the problem lies primarily with the male partner and no other solutions or medical treatment seems to be effective. It is often preferable in those couples, where age of female partner is also a factor, making time an important commodity.

What is Artificial Insemination ?

Artificial insemination means artificially injecting semen or sperms in the female partners' reproductive organs.

What are the Types of Artificial Insemination ?

It can be of several types depending upon the procedure, source of sperms and place of fertilization.

(i) INTRACERVICAL INSEMINATION (ICI): It is the simplest method

whereby the semen is injected high in the cervix, using a needle less syringe of around 20mm. It is an artificial procedure that most closely resembles the natural injection. The female partner is made to lie on the back with the feet up, and the semen is injected with the syringe. The female may have to lie down in the same position for around 30 minutes.

(ii) INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION (IUI): It involves injection of 'washed' sperms from freshly collected semen or sperms taken out from a sperm bank, which is injected directly in to the uterus. The semen cannot be directly injected in to the uterus because the prostaglandins present in the semen can cause cramps. Unlike ICI, IUI has to be done by a medical expert.

(iii) INTRATUBAL INSEMINATION (ITI): This refers to injection of sperms in the fallopian tube. But it offers no benefit over IUI, and is not recommended except in very limited circumstances.

(iv) GAMETE INTRAFALLOPIAN TRANSFER (GIFT): It involves mixing of ovum and sperm outside the body and then depositing the mix in fallopian tube where fertilization takes place.

(v) IN VITRO FERTILIZATION (IVF): This involves fertilization outside the body after which the fertilized ovum is directly implanted in uterus. This is much more complex procedure that involves getting the ovum from the female, which is not required in ICI and IUI.

(vi) INTRA CYTOPLAMSIC SPERM INJECTION (ICSI): This is a procedure involving injection of the sperm in the female ovum using micro-equipment. It allows in-vitro fertilization to be achieved even with very few sperms. Usually the sperm for ICSI is taken from the testes. Thus it is an even more complicated procedure.

Which Artificial Insemination Method is Best for You ?

For those who are willing to use donated sperms, and are constrained by the budget considerations, simple intracervical insemination or ICI is the

method of choice. If the couple can select a healthy acceptable donor, with whom they are able to negotiate and finalise the terms and conditions, it can even be attempted without medical assistance, though the chances of success may be more if performed by experts.

For those couples where the male infertility results from oligospermia or reduced mobility of the sperms, Intrauterine insemination or IUI using the sperms of the male partner may be the method of choice, as it may be more acceptable than donor sperms, and allows both the partners to have a biological child. In case IUI fails, the next options could be Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) or In-vitro fertilization (IVF), both of which are likely to be more expensive as well as more complicated processes. The last resort could be the Intracytpolasmic sperm injection or ICSI which has a higher chance of success even with oligozoospermia providing testes still has viable spermatozoa.

Tips for using Artificial Insemination

1. One needs to choose sometimes between the budget and the choice of being a biological parent. Clear priorities help take the decision quickly.

2. In case of donor sperm, either the donor's identity should be unknown, or else his rights should be properly negotiated and clearly specified in the contract, to avoid future complications regarding rights on the child.

3. In case of sperm donation, one needs to be very sure regarding the health status of the donor. It is preferable to insist for documentation of his health status.

4. Artificial insemination may also require several attempts, especially the intracervical insemination. So one must not get disheartened and give up too soon.

5. Sperm banks provide a better option for avoiding complications, as they usually maintain anonymity of the donor and recipient, and also ensure the health status of the donor by repeated medical tests.

6. Attempting Artificial insemination early enough may improve the chances of success manifold. Hence it may not be preferable to leave for too late.

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