Modern medicine offers many treatments to help infertile couples. Two of these techniques are in vitro fertilization (IV) and artificial insemination (IA). There are many factors that determine whether a couple are good candidates for IV or IA; the couple’s infertility doctor can explain which treatment will work best for their situation.
During in vitro fertilization, the woman is given fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs ovulated. Several eggs are removed from the woman’s body, fertilized by sperm within a laboratory and then placed into the woman’s uterus. In vitro increases the chances of a multiple pregnancy, as multiple eggs are transferred to the uterus. Due to the complexity of this procedure, as well as the cost, in vitro fertilization is considered after many other infertility treatments have been attempted.
During artificial insemination, fresh or frozen sperm–either from the husband or a donor–is deposited near the woman’s cervix or directly into the uterus. This treatment is done in the middle of a woman’s cycle, when she is most likely to ovulate. Infertility doctors perform artificial insemination for various infertility problems–including when the husband has a lowered sperm count, when there is a problem between the woman’s mucus and the sperm or when using donor sperm.
Artificial Insemination at Home
Some people prefer to do artificial insemination at home. There are three methods for attempting this. The difference in these three methods is how the sperm is deposited near the woman’s cervix. One method uses a turkey baster or syringe without a needle; the second method uses a cervical cap; the last method uses a cervical cap with an access tube. Fertility Plus has detailed information on each of these methods. (See Resources below.)
Donor Sperm: Legal Issues
Some state laws declare that the husband is the father of any child born to his wife. In these states, using donor sperm for artificial insemination or in vitro raises no legal concerns for couples. In other states, however, the husband has to adopt any child born as a result of artificial insemination or in vitro using donor sperm. A couple’s infertility doctor can explain the state’s laws.
There are many factors that affect the costs of infertility treatments. Artificial insemination is a fraction of the cost of in vitro, which can cost couples $10,000 and more. Couples should check with their insurance company; some companies do not cover infertility treatments.