Artificial insemination is an infertility treatment that involves placing sperm near the cervix or directly in the uterus. You can have this performed at a doctor’s office, or you can do it yourself at home with a needleless syringe, sometimes called the turkey baster method. Does at-home insemination really involve a turkey baster, though?
When artificial insemination is done at the fertility clinic, the procedure will typically be intrauterine insemination (IUI). In IUI, sperm that has been washed and concentrated is inserted directly in the uterus. This is done at the time of ovulation, with the aim that the sperm will swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize a waiting egg.
You can opt to perform artificial insemination at home, though, placing the sperm near the cervix as opposed to in the uterus. This is called intracervical insemination, or ICI. As with IUI, it’s vital to do the procedure when you’re ovulating. You will need to purchase an at-home insemination kit, but, contrary to what popular media might imply, the syringe you’ll use is not the same as a turkey baster.
Success rates for artificial insemination are the same as having intercourse. So, it is a myth that you’ll get pregnant from a turkey baster, but it’s not a myth that you can get pregnant without having sex.
The ability to become pregnant can depend on a variety of factors, and the fertility treatments that are best for you will vary based on your situation. According to Mayo Clinic, IUI is most beneficial in cases of:
Often, when the reason for infertility is unknown, IUI is the first recommended treatment. IUI is no more uncomfortable than a pap smear, requiring no pain medications, and the procedure itself only takes a couple of minutes.
Good candidates for IUI must have open fallopian tubes, and you must have enough quality eggs in your ovaries for the treatment to be successful. IUI treatment is a good option for males with low sperm count or sub-optimal sperm movement, as the sperm washing boosts chances of conception. IUI is not recommended for anyone under the age of 40, and it can take 3-6 cycles of IUI to know if another fertility treatment option is needed.
If you’re experiencing infertility, artificial insemination is typically a good place to start because of its low cost, reduced side effects, and lower health risks. Don’t go buy the turkey baster though; your doctor can help you find an at-home insemination kit that will come with the necessary tools, no turkey baster needed!
If you feel you are good candidate for IUI, contact us today for a consultation with one of our fertility specialists.