Infertility and artificial insemination – all you need to know
Infertility, also called childlessness, is more common than most people think. At Cryos, we believe that everybody should have the possibility of experiencing parenthood. Artificial insemination is a key part of that because it allows people who otherwise would not have been able to become parents, to experience the joy of parenthood. Read more about the different types of artificial insemination below.
What is artificial insemination?
Artificial insemination is a way of helping single women, lesbian couples and heterosexual couples experiencing infertility achieve their dream of a child. In artificial insemination, a doctor inserts the sperm into the woman's cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes. Artificial insemination can both be performed with donor gametes or with your or your partner's sperm or egg. There are different types of artificial insemination such as ICI, IUI, IVF, and ICSI treatment.
The choice of treatment depends on the woman receiving the treatment and the gamete donor. Read on to learn more about the different types of artificial insemination:
ICI treatment is the simplest type of fertility treatment, where the donor sperm is injected into the cervix by a thin plastic tube. When using ICI treatment for artificial insemination, you either choose to buy sperm that is IUI or ICI sperm. IUI sperm is washed, which means that there are no ejaculate fluids left. ICI sperm is not washed, which means that the natural ejaculate fluid remains. Because the sperm is injected into the cervix, it does not matter whether the sperm is washed or not.
IUI treatment is the most popular type of artificial insemination because this treatment type demands no surgery and rarely causes the woman pain. During IUI treatment the sperm is inseminated into the uterus, where it hopefully travels through the fallopian tubes and into the ovary to fertilize the egg. You will often be able to leave the fertility clinic again 30 minutes after the treatment.
If you want to learn more about the effects of fertility treatment on your body, then follow the link to our webinar on Youtube, where our Customer Care Consultant explains the effects of fertility treatment.
IVF treatment, which is also called In Vitro Fertilization, is a more complicated type of artificial insemination than IUI treatment. In IVF treatment, the egg is retrieved through surgery and fertilized in a petri dish by a fertility doctor. After fertilization, the egg evolves into an embryo which then is transferred into the woman’s uterus, where it hopefully evolves into a successful pregnancy.
ICSI treatment is a type of fertility treatment similar to IVF. The only difference between the two types of artificial insemination is that in ICSI treatment the sperm cell is injected directly into the egg, where it hopefully develops into an embryo. ICSI treatment is meant for couples where the man suffers from problems with his sperm motility, such as low sperm motility. If the problem is caused by the man's ability to ejaculate and there are healthy sperm cells in the testicles, a medical procedure can be used to extract the sperm cells from the testicles. This procedure is called TESE or sperm retrieval and can help men with low sperm count get pregnant.
Home insemination is a type of artificial insemination where the future parent or parents receive donor sperm and a home insemination kit. From there, the woman can inseminate herself at home in familiar surroundings. Because you need to be a licensed tissue operator to handle donor sperm, home insemination is not legal in Europe. A lot of women prefer home insemination because they will not have to go to a fertility clinic, which has a positive effect on the general costs of using a sperm donor for fertility treatment, as well as a positive effect on the overall experience for some women.
Because home insemination is performed without a fertility doctor, it must be the simplest form of fertility treatment. Therefore, both ICI treatment and ICI sperm straws are used for home insemination.
If you have any questions regarding home insemination, you are always welcome to contact our Customer Care Team.
When could artificial insemination be the right choice?
Artificial insemination can be the right choice in a lot of different situations:
- When couples experience infertility, when single women wish to become parents, and when lesbian couples want to have children, they can all benefit from artificial insemination to fulfil their dream.
- When a couple has been trying to conceive for more than a year without obtaining pregnancy, they are according to WHO, suffering from infertility. It does not matter if they have already had a child, if so they could be suffering from secondary infertility. When a year has passed and no successful pregnancy is obtained, it is a good idea to seek help and investigate the possibility of artificial insemination. Common causes of infertility are low sperm count, endometriosis, or blocked fallopian tubes. If you are interested in learning more about infertility and why you may not be getting pregnant, then follow the link.
- A lot of women dream of having a child at some point in their life and artificial insemination makes this dream possible for single women, that want to raise a child on their own. By choosing a sperm donor and using artificial insemination, the woman does not have to wait for the right man to enter her life, and she can become a Single Mother by Choice.
- Since you need both a sperm cell and an egg to conceive a child, it would not be possible for lesbian parents to have genetically related children without artificial insemination. By using a sperm donor, they can conceive and one of the women can be genetically related to the child.
What is the process of artificial insemination like?
The process of artificial insemination depends on the type of fertility treatment. The process of home insemination and IUI treatment is quicker and easier compared to IVF and ICSI treatment. The process of artificial insemination also depends on the type of sperm you are going to use. If you need to use a sperm donor to become pregnant, it may take a bit longer, since you must make the choice of a donor, including considering which type of sperm donor profile you would like, before the actual treatment.
Success rates when using artificial insemination
The success rates of artificial insemination are also very different depending on the type of treatment you are going to receive. In general, we recommend you make a reservation of donor sperm for 5-6 fertility treatments, as that is the average amount of treatments it takes for our customers to become pregnant.
The general success rate when using artificial insemination depends on a lot of different factors in both the woman and the sperm used to fertilize the egg. Two factors that have a big influence on the success rates of artificial insemination, is the BMI and age of the woman. Studies show that women´s fertility decreases significantly after the age of 35. The same is the case for men, but fertility does not decrease at the same pace as it does for women. BMI is also important for both women and men during artificial insemination. By losing weight and quitting substances like cigarettes and alcohol it is possible to increase your chances of getting pregnant. In general, it is a good idea to be healthy and in good shape when receiving fertility treatment. Read more about diet and pregnancy here.