Artificial insemination is a process wherein sperm is directly inserted into the reproductive tract of a female using a special device. This is to impregnate the female via a method other than actual sexual intercourse. This method is beneficial to people who suffers from disability, injury or other sexual problems such as premature ejaculation.
This process was first developed in the dairy cattle industry. It is primarily used on cows. The cows are inserted with the sperm of a bull to improve milk production. Artificial insemination is used in animals to transmit desirable traits of one male to many females. It is also used to overcome breeding problems. It is commonly used in the cases of sheep, pigs, canines, and honeybees. Although it has a long history of success in cattle and pigs, artificial insemination has only recently been practiced in breeding horses in North America.
Artificial insemination is done by placing a freshly ejaculated sperm, which can be produced by the male partner through masturbation. It can also come from a sperm sample which has been frozen and thawed, such as those donated to sperm banks. In either case, the sperm will them be inserted in the uterus by artificial means. A sperm donor usually provides the sperm if the woman’s partner has a low sperm count.
Artificial insemination can be done with a range of techniques. There are different ways to place the sperm into the reproductive tract. These methods include intracervical, intravaginal, intrauterine, intrafallopian and intraperitoneal insemination.
Intraperitoneal insemination is a special method wherein sperm is placed inside the pelvis near the mouth of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The most common methods used are the intracervical and intrauterine insemination. Intracervical insemination (ICI) is a process wherein the sperm is inserted in the cervix with a needle-less syringe. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the process where sperm is injected directly into a woman’s uterus.
Though artificial insemination has many benefits there are also disadvantages:
- Timing in the process of insemination is important. A fresh sperm cell should be collected into a cup through masturbating at the place where the procedure is to take place. If the timing is off, and the sperm cannot be frozen, the motility and fertility of the sperm can be affected.
- It may be not be comfortable for some women if they suffer difficulty with the insertion of the catheter. IUI can also cause cramps that are felt like menstrual pains.
- Another risk is the development of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a condition which is the result of an incorrect IUI. When the ovaries respond to the fertility drugs used inducing ovulation, they will swell to several times their normal size. This may cause excess fluid to leak into the abdominal cavity. This can result in weight gain and a bloated feeling, and may reduce the chance of a successful procedure.
- Another disadvantage is the risk of using sperm from a donor. Some women are not comfortable with the idea of using sperm from someone they do not know. Many genetic diseases are not detected during screening. It is also hard to know if the child will inherit certain traits of the unknown donor.
Before committing yourself to having artificial insemination, it is important that you consult a doctor. With the disadvantages listed, it is better to be certain that this is what you really want to do, and that all necessary steps are taken to ensure your health.