Treatments & Therapies

Artificial Insemination – Treatment, Effects & Risks

Artificial fertilization

Artificial insemination is an option for all couples who cannot have children naturally – this affects at least 15 percent of all couples. About every seventh couple in Germany is affected by unwanted childlessness.

The reasons for childlessness can lie with both the man and the woman; both sexes are about equally affected by infertility . In women, a lack of permeability in the ovaries is usually a reason for infertility, while in men the semen is of poor sperm quality.

What is artificial insemination?

Women are becoming mothers later and later these days. However, from the age of 20, the probability of becoming spontaneously pregnant naturally decreases continuously. Artificial insemination is therefore one of the last resorts, especially for older women, to have a child. But when is the right time to seek advice from a doctor about artificial insemination?

If a young woman under 35 does not conceive after two years of unprotected sex, this is unusual; in the over 40-year-old, on the other hand, completely normal. If you wish to have children, you should see a doctor after a year of unsuccessful attempts at the latest. This will first carry out a so-called spermiogram to rule out fertility problems in men . If you have finally decided on artificial insemination, not only the treating gynecologist is one of the first points of contact, but also the fertility clinics.

Artificial insemination can be done in different ways. In principle, however, egg cells are taken from the woman and sperm cells from the man; these are then artificially combined. How high the chances of pregnancy are depends, among other things, on the method selected and also on the age of the woman; there is no 100 percent guarantee for artificial insemination either. Health insurance covers part of the cost of artificial insemination; However, the prerequisite is that the couple is married and has not exceeded a certain age.

The woman must be no more than 40 years old and the man no more than 50 years old. According to the law, health insurance companies must cover at least 50 percent of the costs for the first three attempts; some insurers pay even more. It is good advice to be insured with the Knappschaft; this completely covers the costs for the first three attempts. Due to the ever declining birth rate, efforts are being made to promote artificial insemination more in the future.

Function, effect & goals

Depending on the reason for the unfulfilled desire to have children, various methods of artificial insemination are used. One of the most well-known and commonly used methods of artificial insemination is in-vitro fertilization. This is the classic “insemination in a glass”, in which the woman’s egg cells are first removed and these are then combined with the man’s sperm cells in the test tube.

If fertilization takes place, up to three fertilized egg cells are reinserted into the mother’s uterus ; the risk or chance of a multiple pregnancy thus increases significantly. Such a multiple pregnancy, in turn, is not only a greater burden for the woman, the risk of a premature birth also increases significantly. This procedure has a 20 percent chance of success. However, before the egg cells can be removed, the mother has to undergo long-term hormonal treatment.

Another method is intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Homologous insemination is used quite frequently; the word insemination means nothing else than the insertion of sperm cells. So fertilization takes place in the woman’s body. The man’s pre-processed semen is either injected into the cervix or inserted directly into the uterus. Insemination is mainly used when the man’s sperm are not mobile enough or there are simply too few sperm cells.

With this type of artificial insemination, a distinction is made between homologous and heterologous insemination. In the former, the sperm cells come from the woman’s own partner; in heterologous insemination, semen from a strange man is used. This has a success rate of 20 percent; with homologous insemination it is only between five and ten percent.

Risks, side effects & dangers

Artificial insemination is a heavy burden for the woman. A large number of side effects can occur, especially with previous hormone treatment ; Nausea , shortness of breath and pain are just some of them. It is also not uncommon for women on hormones to have multiple births.

A risk when removing the egg cells are infections of the ovaries or the fallopian tubes , which are by no means uncommon. In men, blood vessels can also be damaged during the collection of semen from the testicles by means of a biopsy or puncture . The mental pressure on the patient should also be mentioned. The question of whether artificial insemination will lead to the desired child is a burden on both partners and ultimately also on the partnership.

Furthermore, financial problems can become a burden; Although health insurance covers part of the costs, artificial insemination is a financial expense that should not be underestimated. Each attempt at artificial insemination costs around 4,000 euros.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.