Artificial Insemination (AI)

Definition - What does Artificial Insemination (AI) mean?

Artificial Insemination (AI) is a procedure where conception is attempted by depositing sperm directly into the vagina or uterus with a syringe or catheter rather than through intercourse. AI is used in cases there are sperm-cervical mucus interaction issues, if sexual performance is an issue, to help maximize the potential for non-optimal semen, or when using donor sperm.

FertilitySmarts explains Artificial Insemination (AI)

There are three different AI procedures:

  • Intravaginal insemination (IVI), the most common method for home insemination where sperm is introduced into the vagina, most commonly with a syringe. Sperm may be washed or unwashed.
  • Intracervical Insemination (ICI) is similar to IVI, except sperm is often inserted higher into the vagina, with the use of a catheter. A cervical cap may be used to contain the sperm. This may be done at home or in a clinic. Sperm may be washed or unwashed.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is almost always done in a clinic. Sperm needs to be washed. Pregnancy rates are higher for IUI than IVI and ICI.

Overall pregnancy rates for women undergoing AI are not as high as with more advanced fertility procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF), but the technique has other advantages in that it is quick, simple, inexpensive, and has no side effects.

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