How to Improve Artificial Insemination Success Rate
What is artificial insemination?Artificial insemination is a fertility technique involving the injection of sperm directly into a woman’s body (cervix, uterus or Fallopian tubes). Most women undergo an intrauterine insemination (IUI) performed by medical staff, which is when sperm is placed into the uterus (intrauterine) using a thin catheter.
Another method is to perform an at-home insemination, which means that the insemination occurs outside a fertility clinic (usually in the recipient’s home) and is often performed by the recipient herself or her partner. This technique involves placing the sperm close to the cervix and not in the uterus. There are several ways of performing an at-home insemination, such as the turkey baster method.
Artificial insemination needs to be performed during the most fertile window of the cycle, just before and during ovulation. Fertility drugs may be used to boost ovulation and improve chances of pregnancy. IUI and at-home insemination can be performed with the use of the male partner’s sperm or donor sperm.
What are artificial insemination success rates?The success rate of artificial insemination depends on the woman’s age, the male partner/donor’s age, their fertility, sperm quality, whether fertility drugs are used (i.e. ovulation induction).
In general, artificial insemination success rates are lower than those of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Success rates of IUI after one cycle are as follows:
• Women under 35 have a 10-20 percent chance of getting pregnant;
• Women aged between 35 and 40 have a 10 percent chance;
• Women over 40 have a 2-5 percent chance.
If you are over 35, in vitro fertilization might be a better solution, depending on your fertility.
As for at-home insemination success rates, there are currently no national statistics available. Success rates depend on the age of the recipient and the donor, as well as on the technique used, whether the insemination is performed with the baster turkey method, with a cervical cap, whether you’re using fresh or frozen sperm, etc.
How can I increase the artificial insemination success rate?
Start by checking your fertilityIf you’re trying to conceive (especially if you’re over 35), it’s best to pay a visit to your GP first. They will check if everything is all right and whether there are any fertility issues. Depending on your personal situation, your doctor may recommend a treatment or the use of fertility drugs to boost your chances of conception with artificial insemination.
Get the sperm testedMen donating sperm in sperm banks are thoroughly screened before being accepted as a sperm donor. Therefore, if you’re choosing a donor from a sperm bank, you can be certain that their semen will be of good quality.
If you’re selecting a known donor, whether he is a friend or a sperm donor you’ve met online, be sure to check that their semen is of good quality and that they are not carrying any sexually transmitted diseases, infections or genetic abnormalities. It’s best to ask them to provide you with documentation to ensure that they won’t put your health and your future baby’s health at risk.
You also need to know how fertile they are. One way to find out is to get information about any potential previous donations or whether they have any children. Additionally, ask them to provide you with a male fertility test in order to check their sperm quality.
Track your ovulationThe right timing is essential. You need to know exactly when you’re ovulating to perform the insemination at the optimum moment of your cycle, therefore improving your chances of conception.
To find out when you’re ovulating, you can use, for instance, an at-home ovulation predictor kit. You can also track your basal body temperature with a thermometer every day.
Once you’ve found out a bit more about your fertile window, you can time the insemination and make arrangements with the sperm donor or your partner. Moreover, it’s best to perform the insemination during your ovulation day and/or within the two days before ovulation (sperm can live up to 72 hours inside your body).
Opt for IUI over ICIIntrauterine insemination (IUI) has higher success rates than intracervical insemination (ICI), also called intravaginal insemination. Sperm gets closer to the egg with IUI (sperm is injected directly into the uterus, not just placed next to the cervix).
Prefer fresh spermFresh sperm is more effective than sperm that has been frozen and thawed, according to several studies. The freezing and thawing process might damage the sperm membrane, even though it's important to note that many women do still get pregnant using frozen sperm.
Moreover, the lifespan of fresh semen is up to 72 hours in a woman’s body, if inseminated vaginally. This means that if the insemination is performed a day or two before ovulation, there is still a chance of pregnancy occurring. On the contrary, the lifespan of frozen sperm is about 24 hours when inseminated vaginally. To increase the likelihood of pregnancy, it’s crucial to know exactly when you’re ovulating.