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Artificial Insemination Process Guide

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 7/26/2010

If you are considering artificial insemination to become pregnant read on to learn about the artificial insemination process and what it entails.

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    The artificial insemination process is used to help treat certain types of female and male infertility. This technique helps to significantly increase the odds of becoming pregnant because the sperm is inserted directly in the fallopian tubes, uterus, or cervix of the female patient. This helps the sperm bypass any obstructions and the trip is shorter to the uterus. The most common form of this technique is intrauterine insemination where the sperm is inserted directly into the uterus.

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    What to Expect During Treatment?

    Before beginning treatment, most patients will take fertility drugs to increase their chance of becoming pregnant. The patient's ovulation will also be tracked using ultrasound or an ovulation kit. Once it is time for insemination, the male will have to present a sample of his sperm. This sperm is then “washed” so that only the hardiest sperm are placed into the female. The sperm are then put into a catheter and into the uterus.

    The procedure is relatively painless and often described as similar to a Pap smear. Some women will experience light bleeding after insemination and some cramping during the procedure. Once the catheter is removed, the woman will be asked to lie down for up to 45 minutes to allow the sperm time to work.

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    How Long Does Treatment Last?

    The actual insemination process will take no more than an hour, but most women will prepare for a week or more to have this procedure by using fertility drugs. Most women will go through this procedure three to six times before either becoming pregnant or moving on to a different infertility treatment.

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    Success Rate

    The rate of success is very subjective and highly depends on the individual's age and the fertility problems of both partners. Most couples who go through the intrauterine artificial insemination process have a five to twenty percent chance of getting pregnant with each treatment. Those who want to be closer to the twenty percent will take fertility drugs along with artificial insemination. No national statistics exist concerning live birth rates from artificial insemination.

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    How Much Does Artificial Insemination Cost?

    Cost of artificial insemination is highly dependent on the fertility clinic or hospital and the region the individual lives in. On average, it will cost $300.00 to $700.00 per cycle in the United States. However, the cost of medication and ultrasound monitoring must also be factored in resulting in an average total cost of $1,500.00 to $4000.00. Insurance may or may not cover the cost, or partial cost, of this fertility treatment.

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    Pros and Cons of Artificial Insemination

    For many hoping to become pregnant this fertility treatment is cheaper and less invasive than other techniques. If male fertility problems are the issue, this technique makes it much easier to conceive. This procedure allows fertilization to naturally occur in the woman's body.

    Timing is crucial in this process allowing the male partner only an hour to produce sperm and deliver it to the clinic. Both partners must be ready to go to the fertility clinic as soon as ovulation starts. This usually gives them 24 to 36 hours to prepare and get there.

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    Resources

    Baby Center. (2006). Fertility Treatment: Artificial Insemination (IUI). Retrieved on July 22, 2010 from Baby Center: http://www.babycenter.com/0_fertility-treatment-artificial-insemination-iui_4092.bc?page=1

    WebMD. (2010). Infertility and Artificial Insemination. Retrieved on July 22, 2010 from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/artificial-insemination