Artificial insemination is a cheaper, more widely used, and simpler fertility treatment than in vitro fertilization (IVF), but it has been less effective than its more complicated counterpart. Also known as intrauterine insemination (IUI), artificial insemination is a method where fertility specialists directly insert sperm into a woman’s uterus while she is ovulating. The principle behind artificial insemination as a fertility treatment is logical: Increasing the number of sperm cells that reach the fallopian tubes during ovulation should boost the chance of fertilization.
During IVF, contractions of the uterus often reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant during the fertility treatment. The new information that fertility specialists are talking about is that the opposite has been found to be true during artificial insemination. Actually, the more contractions a woman’s uterus performs during artificial insemination, the more likely she is to become pregnant. The research was published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.
The research was completed by a team from Valencia Infertility Institute in Spain. It was led by researcher Manuel Fernández in the hopes of improving the success of artificial insemination. The team looked at data from 610 women who attempted artificial insemination using either a partner’s sperm or a donor’s sperm, according to Medical News Today.
“When the number of contractions is high, the rates of pregnancy and live births are also notably elevated,” explains Fernández. Medications do exist that can act as uterine stimulants that can cause a woman’s uterus to contract, though the press release indicated that the study observed past attempts at artificial insemination, and did not test the findings by forcing uterine contractions during the fertility treatments. Interestingly, according to Brown University, a female orgasm can also result in uterine contractions.
In addition to uterine contraction during artificial insemination, other factors were also linked to a successful pregnancy after artificial insemination. Aligning the procedure so that it is completed on the same day that an ovary releases an egg is also important to a successful artificial insemination. Maternal age and the number of follicles also were linked to the treatment’s outcome, according to the press release.
The research team believes that with all of this information, artificial insemination could hold a 15 to 20 percent success rate if a partner’s sperm is used, or a 25 percent success rate if a donor’s sperm is used.
“If we manage to improve artificial insemination success rates using this and other studies, we would be contributing to an important advance, given that this is currently the most accessible and widely used treatment,” Fernández explained.
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