More than 10 percent of women in the U.S. have trouble getting pregnant. You have several options if you and your partner are having trouble conceiving. Artificial insemination is one of the most widely known methods of treatment, but what is artificial insemination? It is a fertilization procedure where sperm is artificially placed into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes or uterus.
The procedure shortens the length that the sperm has to travel, so it’s less likely to be obstructed. Artificial insemination can be used for many different kinds of fertility problems including:
- Men who have low sperm count or poor sperm mobility
- Women who have endometriosis
- Women who have any abnormalities of their reproductive organs
- Women who have unreceptive cervical mucus
- Couples who have an unexplained fertility problem
Before the procedure, your doctor will probably prescribe fertility drugs. You’ll start these near the beginning of your menstrual cycle so that your ovaries will be stimulated to produce several mature eggs.
Your doctor will closely monitor your menstrual cycle with ovarian kits, ultrasounds and blood tests. The actual procedure will be done when you are ovulating. Your partner will be asked to produce a sample of semen. The sperm has to be “washed” in a lab to increase the chances of fertilization by removing unnecessary, potentially harmful chemicals.
After the sperm are washed, they will be placed into a catheter and then your doctor will use the catheter to put the sperm into your uterus through your cervix.
The procedure itself takes less than an hour, and is relatively painless with most women comparing the experience to a Pap smear. However, you will be on fertility drugs for about a week before you ovulate. And depending on the cause of your fertility problems, you may have to go through more than one cycle of artificial insemination or another treatment before getting pregnant.
Artificial insemination may not work for everyone, and you may have to try it a couple of times before getting pregnant. Your success rate will depend on your specific condition and circumstances. However, our staff at UAMS are committed to helping you, your partner and hopefully soon your baby.
To make an appointment, please contact the UAMS Fertility Clinic.