How is insemination performed? What is the process for artificial insemination in humans?
- The woman usually is given medications to stimulate development of multiple 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 2-5 days of abstinence from ejaculation.
- The semen is “washed” in the 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 30-60 minutes.
- A speculum is placed in the vagina and the cervical area is gently cleaned.
The washed specimen of highly motile sperm is placed either in the cervix (intracervical insemination, ICI) or higher in the uterine cavity (intrauterine insemination, IUI) using a sterile, flexible catheter.
The intrauterine insemination procedure, if done properly, should seem similar to a pap smear for the woman. There should be little or no discomfort.
Most clinics offer for the woman to remain lying down for a few minutes after the procedure, although it has not been shown to improve success rates. The sperm has been put above the vagina and cervix – it will not leak out when you stand up.