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Artificial insemination - treatment

The Private Healthcare UK guide to infertility treatment contains articles on infertility and IVF treatment which are aimed at improving your knowledge of treatments for infertility, their benefits and potential risks.


In this section

Prior to starting treatment you should be given a full explanation of your programme and provided with a written protocol to which you can refer during treatment. Donor Insemination can either be used in natural cycles or stimulated cycles.  You must have a full bladder at the time of insemination. 


Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – natural cycle

An ovulation predictor kit and/or ultrasound are used to monitor ovulation and gauge the time of insemination in a natural cycle.  No medications are required.  Ultrasound, if used, measures the growth of the follicles and is performed internally by placing a slim probe into the vagina.  The scan lasts less than five minutes and it is necessary to empty your bladder prior to the scan.


At the time of insemination, washed and prepared sperm is placed into the uterus by passing a very fine catheter through the cervical canal.  Bypassing the cervical canal decreases the dependency on mucus conditions and increases the success rate. 

Sperm donors are screened for sexually transmittable agents (including HIV) and genetically inherited diseases. Sperm are frozen and quarantined for a minimum of six months, at which point the test for HIV is repeated prior to use.

Characteristics that can be matched, if required, to a male partner are eye and hair colour, ethnic background and blood group. In all cases using donor sperm, the patient can receive a brief physical profile listing such characteristics.


IUI with superovulation – stimulated cycles

This treatment offers a higher success rate than ‘natural cycle IUI’.  Patients are scanned and medication is given, either orally or by injection, to stimulate the cycle.  Deciding factors when choosing a treatment option will depend on the age of the patient, clinical history and previous treatment responses.


Either Clomid tablets, 50 - 100 mgs from days 2 - 6, or FSH/ hMG injections are used to simulate the ovaries.  FSH/hMG subcutaneous injections (into fatty tissue) are given, daily or on alternate days.  The aim is to allow the ovaries to produce up to a maximum of three large follicles.  Several vaginal scans are performed to monitor follicular growth.  Insemination is performed at around the time of ovulation, which is triggered by giving an injection 40 hours prior to IUI.


The risk of multiple pregnancies increases when undertaking stimulated cycles of treatment.


Pregnancy following Donor Insemination


The progress and outcome of a pregnancy resulting from donor sperm carries no greater or lesser risk than a pregnancy resulting from unassisted conception.  Donor insemination does not protect you from miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or the possibility of a birth defect, but the chances of these are no greater than usual.


If you wish to purchase sibling stock (sperm from the donor used for your successful cycle) for use in future pregnancies, it may be possible to arrange this following a successful twelfth week scan. 


Some donors provide further written information – a pen sketch - about themselves (further information from what is required on the HFEA forms).  You can apply for this information on behalf of your child once you have delivered your baby. 


In this guide

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