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GLOSSARY

Artificial Insemination

Artificial insemination is an infertility treatment in which sperm is directly inserted into a person’s fallopian tubes, uterus, or cervix to achieve pregnancy through in-vivo (in-body) fertilization.

There are two common approaches to artificial insemination: intrauterine insemination (IUI) or intracervical insemination (ICI). During intracervical insemination, sperm is injected directly into the cervix. With intrauterine insemination (IUI), sperm is first “washed” before injection into the uterus, to remove proteins that could affect fertilization. As a result, sperm is more concentrated, increasing the odds of conception.

Artificial insemination for male fertility

Artificial insemination can be used to treat a number of male-factor fertility problems. This method is sometimes used in cases where males have low sperm counts or have low sperm motility.

Reduced sperm motility, or sperm movement, can have a significant impact on the likelihood of achieving pregnancy because sperm will be less likely to reach or fertilize the eggs in the female reproductive tract. In simpler terms, sperm with low motility may not be strong enough to swim past the cervix and up into the fallopian tubes. Artificial insemination can bypass this issue, and has regularly been used to treat male infertility.

History of artificial insemination

The first human application of artificial insemination was done in London in the late 1770s by John Hunter. Later, in 1899, Ilya Ivanovich Ivanoff aimed to develop the first practical methods of artificial insemination. His work spurred a number of future developments by Alan F. Guttmacher (1943), R.H. Stoughton (1948), and Kohlberg (1953) who released some of the first reports on human artificial insemination. Today, artificial insemination is one of the most popular procedures for subfertile individuals.
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