Intra-uterine insemination (or artificial insemination) is a simple technique, in which the spermatozoids are placed directly in the woman's uterus at the time of ovulation.
The doctor uses vaginal ultrasound, blood sample or urine tests to determine the time of ovulation in advance. Once the day and time have been fixed, the partner attends one or two hours before insemination to provide the sperm sample (by masturbation). The insemination consists of depositing the sperm sample in the uterine cavity by means of a flexible tube (a catheter) passed through the neck of the uterus. The patient is seated in a gynaecological position.
To increase the chances of pregnancy, hormonal stimulation of the ovaries may be used as well. Its aim is to stimulate the production and maturation of eggs. The doctor prescribes hormones (anti-oestrogens or gonadotrophins), to be taken by mouth or by injection.
Intra-uterine insemination is not at all painful. The intervention lasts a few minutes and, after resting for 5-15 minutes, the patient can resume her normal activities.
At CHUV, artificial inseminations, semen analysis (analysis of sperm) and use of the sperm bank are techniques that have been available to our patients since 1981.