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Artificial Insemination

Artificial insemination is a procedure in which sperm obtained by masturbation or other methods of mechanical stimulation are deposited in the vagina, cervix, or uterus of the female by means other than natural intercourse, with the specific intent to achieve pregnancy. Artificial insemination is a brief office procedure that may be performed using the fresh sperm of the male partner or the frozen/thawed sperm of an anonymous sperm donor, and involves injection of the sperm into the female through a thin tube. Intrauterine insemination requires preliminary processing of the semen sample to isolate the sperm for insemination since seminal plasma cannot be directly injected into the uterus. To be effective, insemination must be performed in close proximity to the time of ovulation (release of an egg) in the female as both sperm and eggs have a relatively short lifespan. Situations in which artificial insemination may be a recommended procedure include: (1) anatomical problems that prevent effective natural intercourse or interfere with normal sperm movement through the female reproductive tract; (2) poor semen quality with an abnormally low sperm count and/or poor sperm motility (ability to move); and (3) "unexplained infertility" in which the purpose is to increase the probability of pregnancy by introducing more than the usual numbers of sperm, typically in a cycle involving stimulation of the female with fertility drugs in efforts to cause release of more than a single mature egg.

See also: BIRTH


Friedman, Andrew J., Mary Juneau-Norcross, Beverly Sedensky, Nina Andrews, Jayne Dorfman, and Daniel W. Cramer. "Life Table Analysis of Intrauterine Insemination Pregnancy Rates for Couples with Cervical Factor, Male Factor, and Idiopathic Infertility." Fertility and Sterility 55 (1991):1005-1007.

Shenfield F., P. Doyle, A. Valentine, S. J. Steele, S. L. Tan. "Effects of Age, Gravidity and Male Infertility Status on Cumulative Conception Rates Following Artificial Insemination with Cryopreserved Donor Semen: Analysis of 2,998 Cycles of Treatment in One Centre Over Ten Years. Human Reproduction 8 (1993):60-64.

Wilcox Allen J., Clarice R. Weinberg, Donna D. Baird. "Timing ofSexual Intercourse in Relation to Ovulation—Effects on the Probability of Conception, Survival of the Pregnancy, and Sex of the Baby."New England Journal of Medicine 333 (1995):1517-1521.

Marc Fritz

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 1