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Human Artificial Insemination

Men and women have co-existed on planet earth since prehistoric times. Since then, sexual intercourse has been the reproductive route. Like a friend of mine says, "procreation was the only recreation". Very true, but science has (as usual) broken the shackles of nature and found an ingenious mode of procreation. Artificial insemination is that mode. Let us explore this arena!
Human artificial insemination is a boon for mankind. Thanks to hectic and callous lifestyle, reproduction through natural means has become fairly difficult. That is, not to say that sex has lost its importance but the end result is not necessarily for childbirth any more. Let us understand the process and techniques better.

When is it Required to Go Through Artificial Insemination
In case you (the woman) are not being able to conceive due to sperm allergy you need to go through the procedure. In case your partner has a low sperm count or poor sperm motility, you may need to resort to artificial insemination (AI), as the sperm would end up taking unduly long amount of time to reach the egg.

Often the cause of infertility, is unknown. At such times, AI is the only resort.

What is Artificial Insemination
Insemination in literary terms means "The act of sowing (of seeds in the ground or figuratively, of germs in the body or ideas in the mind, etc)". However, if we try to explore a more relevant meaning of the term, it would mean "The introduction of semen into the genital tract of a female". Hence, in more broader terms, one can say that insemination can happen naturally as well as artificially. Natural insemination will, obviously, occur with the help of sexual intercourse. AI, on the other hand, is a process that does not involve sexual intercourse.

Procedure
It is a process by which sperm is placed into the female's reproductive tract without sexual intercourse, as the means. It is also known as an alternative reproductive method. In this procedure fresh sperm or frozen sperm which is thawed, is inserted into the woman's vagina or uterus. Care needs to be taken, that this procedure takes place only after the ovulation has started. Hence, before the insemination takes place, the doctors check if the ovum creation has taken place, already. Specially designed equipment is available to facilitate AI. Normally, the semen is inserted twice in a cycle. If the procedure is successful, the woman will conceive and carry the baby. The only difference in an artificial and natural insemination is, that there is a possibility of multiple conceptions in case of AI, in case drugs have been taken to stimulate fertility.

Techniques
There are three techniques that can be used in order to carry out this procedure.

Intracervical Insemination
Intracervical insemination includes inserting the semen high into a woman's cervix. It is a vaginal method of insemination. In this technique they use a needless syringe to insert semen high into the woman's cervix. In fact, it is a near replica of the natural method, where the semen is deposited into the woman cervix by the penis when the man ejaculates during the act of intercourse. It is a relatively simpler technique, as raw or 'unwashed' semen can be used for insemination. As such, it is the most popular technique for home and self practitioners.

Intrauteral Insemination
Intrauteral insemination includes inserting the 'washed' sperm directly into the woman's uterus. Insertion of 'unwashed' sperm may cause uterine cramping, expelling the semen and causing pain. This is a relatively complicated technique as there are several stipulation for optimum effect. Intrauteral insemination is most conducive for woman below 30 years of age. The male should have TMS (Total Motile Spermatozoa) more than 5 million per ml. There are several more specifications like existence of two follicle measuring 16mm in each cycle and more than 500 pg/ml of estrogen on the day of hCG administration.

Intratubal Insemination
Intrauteral insemination can be combined with intratubal insemination into the fallopian tube. However, this method is not being followed nowadays as, in comparison to intrauteral insemination, it is not that successful.

The pregnancy that results out of AI, is no different from pregnancy that results out of sexual intercourse. However, in case of couples attempting pregnancy and not succeeding, the option of stimulated artificial insemination can be useful. However, as discussed before, there is a possibility that could lead to multiple conceptions.

Anyway, this is where I sign off! Hope the article answered all of your questions.
By Rashida Khilawala
Last Updated: 9/23/2011
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