Artificial insemination is a fairly straight forward process involving the following 5 steps:
- As discussed above, the woman is given ovulation induction medications to stimulate development of multiple follicles (eggs) and the insemination is timed to coincide with ovulation – release of the eggs.
- A semen specimen is either produced at home or in the office by masturbation after 2-4 days of abstinence from ejaculation in order to ensure the optimal motility and morphology. The preferred collection method is through ejaculation into a sterile collection cup performed in our private collections rooms within the office. We do provide both adult audio and video material to facilitate this process and women are welcome to accompany their partner into the room. If there is some anxiety on the male’s part, a home collection may be performed as long as the semen is delivered to the office within a half hour of ejaculation and kept at body temperature and in the dark during transport.
- The semen is then “washed” in our andrology laboratory (called sperm processing or sperm washing). The sperm is separated from the other components of the semen and concentrated in a small volume. Various media and techniques can be used for the washing and separation. Sperm processing takes about 30-90 minutes.
- A speculum is placed in the vagina and the cervical area is gently cleaned of any mucous if present.
- The washed specimen of highly motile sperm is ideally placed in the uterine cavity (intrauterine insemination, IUI) using a sterile, flexible catheter.
The intrauterine insemination procedure does not hurt. It will feel a lot like a pap smear and there should be little or no discomfort. At Advanced Fertility Care, women should plan to remain lying down with elevated hips for 10 minutes after the insemination at our office. After the 10 minutes, the woman is free to go and resume normal daily activities.