All About Pregnancy by Artificial Insemination

25 June, 2020
Artificial insemination is one of the most widely used assisted reproductive techniques. Discover everything you need to know about it here.

Artificial insemination is one of the assisted reproductive therapies that allows couples with various reproductive problems to become parents. Do you want to learn about pregnancy by artificial insemination?

If so, keep reading. We’ll try to answer the most common questions about this topic.

Pregnancy by artificial insemination

Pregnant woman holding a stuffed animal, artificial insemination can help you get pregnant.
Artificial insemination can help you achieve your dream of being a parent.

Artificial insemination is an assisted treatment that consists of placing sperm that was previously selected in a laboratory inside the uterus. These sperm can come from a partner or a sperm bank.

Once the sample is obtained, specialists work with the semen in the laboratory, separating the mobile sperm from the seminal plasma. At the same time, doctors stimulate the ovaries to increase the chances of pregnancy. However, we’re going to talk about the step-by-step process of pregnancy by artificial insemination.

What is the process like?

Unlike in vitro fertilization (IVF), conception with artificial insemination takes place inside the uterus. For this reason, doctors take certain precautions to increase the chances of fertilization:

  1. Doctors choose the best sperm from a sample, which may belong to the partner or a sperm bank.
  2. The doctor stimulates ovulation to make sure that it takes place.
  3. They monitor the moment of ovulation to choose the best moment to carry out the insemination.
  4. They perform insemination a few hours before ovulation occurs. That way, sperm are found within the female body when the egg is released.
  5. They monitor the progress to confirm pregnancy.

Differences from a natural pregnancy

Is there a difference between a natural pregnancy and pregnancy by artificial insemination?

No, there are no differences beyond how fertilization occurs. That is to say, that after the insemination process that we just described, pregnancy by insemination and natural pregnancy are exactly the same.

To calculate the start date of the pregnancy you have to subtract 14 days from the date on which the insemination was performed. That way, embryonic development will correspond to the same weeks as a pregnancy without medical intervention.

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What is the risk of miscarriage?

Woman holding stomach in pain.
The risk of miscarriage is the same in a natural pregnancy as in one achieved through artificial insemination.

Between 10 and 20% of known pregnancies don’t reach term and artificial insemination in no way increases the risk of miscarriage. In addition, the older the woman, the higher the risk of losing the pregnancy (approximately 35% at 35 years, 40% at 40 years, and 80% from 45 years on).

Most miscarriages happen before week 12 due to chromosomal problems, missing embryo, the death of the fetus, molar or partial molar pregnancy (abnormal growth of the placenta).

Measures for pregnancy by artificial insemination

Conceiving through artificial insemination doesn’t imply that you should take any special measures beyond those recommended in any pregnancy. In fact, as we’ve already said, pregnancy achieved through this technique evolves exactly the same as one achieved naturally.

For this reason, you should follow the measures prescribed by your doctor by going to gynecological checkups, blood and urine studies, and ultrasounds on the stipulated dates. Regarding amniocentesis, they’ll recommend you do it if the Triple Screening shows suspicious results.

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When does public health take over artificial insemination?

Surely, if you live in a country with a public health system, this question has already crossed your mind. The answer varies from country to country, depending on the laws in each of them. Talking specifically about Spain, Social Security takes charge of the artificial insemination process when:

  • The woman is a maximum of 40 years old and the man a maximum of 50 when they start treatment.
  • They have proven they have a problem conceiving. That is to say that the couple has undergone fertility studies that have revealed a certain problem.
  • The couple doesn’t have children in common or the child they have has a serious illness. Another situation in which treatment is covered is if one of the members of the couple hasn’t had children.
  • In general, they allow three attempts, although it depends on the autonomous community.
  • Neither member of the couple suffers from a serious illness that could be hereditary.

If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, see your doctor. They will surely prescribe a series of studies to determine if there is a fertility problem and will determine if pregnancy by artificial insemination is an option for you.