Artificial insemination is the action of manually depositing sperm into a woman’s reproductive tract. In contrast, natural insemination is performed through sexual intercourse. Artificial insemination is a safe, non-invasive, and natural approach to fertility treatment.
ICI (or intra-cervical insemination–though intra-vaginal insemination is more accurate) is an “at-home” insemination procedure. Unwashed sperm is deposited using a small syringe into the vaginal canal. It is important that ICI vials not be deposited into the cervix or further because ICI vials are unwashed semen, which possesses seminal proteins that will cause cramping. By depositing this unwashed sperm into the vaginal canal, the cervix acts like a filter and will only let the good sperm through.
IUI (or intra-uterine insemination) is an “in-office” insemination procedure. Washed sperm is deposited into the top of the uterus using a catheter, close to the egg.
IVF (or in vitro fertilization) is a technologically advanced procedure that involves extracting both the egg(s) from the woman, the sperm from the man, and manually introducing the two (fertilizing the egg) in a petri dish. The fertilized egg is tended for by a team of embryologists and after several days, the fertilized egg has matured enough to be deposited into the woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant and grow into a baby.
The use of donor sperm is recommended for lesbian couples, single females, and heterosexual couples in which the male has severely compromised sperm quality/quantity. For males with compromised sperm, there may still be treatments available to help! Schedule an appointment with FCC’s sister company, Male Fertility and Sexual Medicine Specialists, to see what Dr. Bastuba might be able to do to help with your fertility journey.
- Same sex female couples
- Single females
- Heterosexual couples with male factor fertility. Male factor infertility can range from severe (supplement with donor sperm or pursue advanced treatment with Dr. Bastuba), moderate (sperm pooling), to slight infertility (sperm washing).
- Couples using donor sperm (directed or anonymous/open)
- Couples facing timing issues such as partner being out of town or on military deployment
- Couples in which the male experiences sexual dysfunction
- Women with poly-cystic ovary syndrome or irregular periods
The Nurse Practitioner at Fertility Center of California is an expert in female fertility and ovulation induction. During the initial consult, the Nurse Practitioner will discuss your relevant medical history, menstrual cycle details, review any previous labs pertaining to fertility (hormones, diagnostic tests) as well as recommend diagnostic tests that ensure that artificial insemination is a good fit. If able, the Nurse Practitioner likes to perform a baseline ultrasound to view the uterus and ovaries. A semen analysis may be recommended for your male partner, if applicable. The Nurse Practitioner will also help map out the time of introduction for various tools involved in whichever treatment method you jointly agree on pursuing.
The IUI procedure is very similar to a pap smear from the patient’s perspective. The patient undresses from the waist down and the nurse will use a speculum to visualize the cervix. The nurse will use a soft catheter to enter the uterus through the cervical opening and deposit the sperm specimen into the top of the uterus. The patient may rest for 15 minutes afterwards and then she is done. She can resume normal life immediately.
Fertility Center of California (FCC) is certified by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as being licensed by California Department for Public Health (CDPH). With over 35 years experience, the FCC laboratory supervisors and managers practice and teach proven methods for safely preparing sperm for IUIs.
All lab technicians undergo extensive training and participate in bi-annual proficiency testing to ensure all lab personnel are performing lab tasks at the high standard FCC demands.
Lab technicians only process one sample at a time in a confined location. Each piece of equipment the sperm sample comes into contact with is labeled with the patient name before contact is made. Each step of the sperm preparation process is carefully followed, making sure to always determine each tool the lab tech is using is designated for the sperm wash patient.
Technologists are also taught to be on guard 100% of the time for abnormalities in the lab environment. This constant diligence that has allowed FCC to be free from sperm processing errors for over 35 years.