Artificial insemination refers to a procedure that is used to help an infertile woman become pregnant. Artificial insemination is used when traditional fertilization cannot take place. An artificial insemination procedure is recommended for women who have not been able to conceive. Artificial insemination is also used when the father's sperm count is low. A prerequisite for the process of artificial insemination is that the fallopian tubes of the woman must be in good condition, free of any disease and blockage.
The first 'test tube' baby Louise Brown was born on July 25 1978 in Britain. The first successful IVF treatment took place in 1981 and since then many thousands of babies have been born with the aid of this process. Artificial insemination process helps nature get a piggyback ride to start a pregnancy. Artificial insemination is used for tackling infertility caused due to cervical mucus problems, low sperm count, inactive sperm or sperm antibodies.
The process of artificial insemination may be started with a course of fertility medicines that the woman is given so as to stimulate production and maturity of eggs. Close monitoring is done to evaluate hormone levels and any other risk factors. The woman's ovulation cycle is determined by noting the body temperature and vaginal discharge. Ultrasound is also used for determining the time of a woman's ovulation. The artificial insemination process is done with sperms either from the woman's partner or a donor. It is then injected into the woman's cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes. It may be subject to a special treatment called 'washing' which makes it more concentrated for fertilization.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a popular assisted reproduction technique. The eggs from the woman and the man's sperm are taken and fertilization takes place in a petri dish outside the woman's womb. This fertilized embryo is then implanted in the woman's uterus. GIFT (Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer) is a variation on this technique wherein the woman's eggs are retrieved and mixed with the man's sperm and immediately placed into the woman's fallopian tubes. ZIFT (Zygote Intra Fallopian Transfer) involves transfer of fertilized egg to the uterus. GIFT and ZIFT involve laparoscopic surgery.
Artificial insemination success rate
One of the complications that can arise out of artificial insemination process is multiple pregnancy. Artificial insemination success rate is said to be more than 30% per cycle after the transfer of fertilized embryo. This percentage is even better than the 20-25% chances of natural pregnancy in a given month under normal circumstances. The success rate of artificial insemination procedures at IVF clinics needs to carefully examined. The real success rate of artificial insemination is the live birth rate. This is calculated by taking into account all the data about couples that have undergone treatment over a specified period of time.
The artificial insemination success rate hinges to a large extent on the age of the woman. Fertility drops after 35 and the success of the artificial insemination techniques reduces drastically. A fertility test called clamiphene challenge test can be taken to measure the fertility potential. Those undergoing infertility treatment must be careful with their diet and lifestyle so as to increase the success of the artificial insemination procedure. Limiting alcohol and drug consumption, eating healthy food and taking care to maintain optimum weight levels can go a long way in increasing the success rate of the treatment.
There is widespread controversy over the artificial insemination process. The subject of the ethical issues of artificial insemination has been much debated. The possible misuse of this procedure is an oft-mentioned fear. Some see it as tampering with nature whereas others see it as a gift of science to help an infertile couple experience parenthood.