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Intracervical Insemination

A detailed guide to one of the methods of artificial insemination known as intracervical insemination (ICI), has been provided in this article for your reference.
Many couples may have to deal with the problem of infertility, which keeps them from enjoying parenthood. And one of the cost-effective treatment methods for this, which is, at the same time, the least invasive, is what we know as Artificial Insemination (AI). This medical procedure involves the direct placement of sperm either inside the cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes of the woman concerned; through procedures known as Intracervical Insemination (ICI), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), or Intratubal Insemination (ITI) respectively. Usually, the sperm can be of the woman's male partner. However, in some cases wherein, the male partner is having fertility issues, the sperm can be obtained from another male (a donor). The concept of sperm donor is also applicable in case of women who wish to parent child without the intervention of a male partner.

What is Intracervical Insemination?

In this procedure, the sperm is placed directly near the cervix. This is usually carried out just before ovulation. Once placed near the cervix, the sperm can travel up the uterus and into the fallopian tubes, in order to fertilize the egg. ICI is associated with high success rates, and that is why most couples opt for this procedure. Also, the procedure is relatively less costlier than other methods such as intrauterine insemination.

How is ICI Carried Out?

As cited above, ICI happens to be the least invasive kind of AI performed by medical experts. Usually, within a few minutes, the process can be done away with.
  • The ideal time to begin the procedure of the insemination is when the woman would be ovulating. This is to increase the chances of conception. She might also be put on fertility drugs with the purpose of maintaining a healthy supply of eggs for fertilization.
  • Now, the day of the procedure, the male partner or the sperm donor will have to provide a sample of semen, which could be either taken at home or at the clinic. Generally, the donor is advised beforehand to abstain from ejaculating, about two weeks before the day of insemination. From the semen, healthy sperms are retrieved, with a procedure known as sperm washing. This process helps in increasing the sperm motility by getting rid of immobile sperm and other chemicals that may interfere with fertilization. As the sperm washing process ensures that the sperm cells used for the insemination are more concentrated, healthy, and active, it creates better chances for pregnancy.
  • In the last step, with the help of a speculum, the woman's vagina is hold open to expose the cervix. After cleaning the cervix, the doctor inserts a thin and flexible catheter through the vaginal tract, until it reaches the cervix. Now the end of this catheter contains a syringe filled with the washed and prepared sperm of the donor. The sperm is injected directly into the cervix. And finally, in order to keep the deposited sperm to leak out from its place, the cervix is closed with a sponge cap. This cap may be removed 6-8 hours post the procedure.
And to conclude, speaking of the intracervical insemination cost, as mentioned, the method is not a pricey affair when compared to other AI methods. Typically, to perform one cycle of this procedure, it may cost somewhere between $200 and $350. Besides, from being less expensive, ICI is also less invasive. That is why most couples and single women prefer to go for this method to fulfill their wish of parenting children.
By Rajib Singha
Published: 6/7/2011
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