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In some cases couples will be unable to have a child on their own and will need someone who is ok with surrogacy. These people become surrogate mothers who will actually carry the child to term and ensure that there is a way for the couple to have a child. Finding the right surrogate mother can...

A Closer Look At Intracervical Insemination

Intracervical InseminationMost people have heard of in vitro fertilization (IVF)—after all, it was widely controversial when it first came on the scene as a successful fertility treatment. But, there is another treatment that is helpful for a lot of women about which many couples have never heard. This procedure is called intracervical insemination (ICI).

Of course, many doctors and fertility specialists do suggest ICI to couples who are experiencing fertility problems. The point here is that not many couples walk into the doctor’s office or fertility clinic having heard of intracervical insemination. A lot of couples erroneously believe that if traditional intercourse is not successful for them, then they have to try in vitro fertilization. This is not the case.

IVF and ICI are alike in some ways. They are both methods of insemination, meaning that they are both used to try to fertilize an egg in order to achieve conception. And, both methods can utilize the woman’s partner’s sperm or a donor’s sperm—whichever the couple chooses. Additionally, should conception occur, the child will be a biological child of the woman because it will be her egg that has been fertilized (unless, of course, a donor egg is used for IVF; this is not an option for ICI).

But, there are some key differences between IVF and ICI. The names of the two procedures spell out the first major difference. In vitro (which literally means “in the glass” in Latin) fertilization is done in the laboratory. Intracervical insemination, however, is done in a completely different way. The literal definition for ‘intracervical’ is “within the canal of the cervix,” and that pretty much describes how this type of insemination is done.

With ICI, the doctor inserts a flexible catheter into a woman’s vagina until it reaches the cervix. There is a syringe filled with the sperm sample at the end of the catheter, and when the doctor reaches the cervical canal, he releases the sperm. Some doctors also place a spongy cap over the cervix to keep the sperm from leaking out.

This type of fertility treatment is meant to assist the sperm in reaching the egg. So, this type of insemination is mainly for women who do not have problems with ovulation (or, who are taking drugs to fix their ovulation problems). And, ICI is also for women whose partners are having trouble ejaculating during intercourse. Intracervical insemination is also the procedure that is used for surrogate parents and for when women opt for being single parents by using sperm donors.

The success rate of intracervical insemination is not as high as some procedures (about 5% to 30% per cycle)—but, it costs much less. One cycle of ICI costs, on average, around $200 to $350 (though the price is higher if donor sperm is used). So, many couples may want to try this approach before attempting other, costlier treatments, which start at around $600.

Intracervical insemination isn’t for every couple, of course, but it may be a good solution for some couples.

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