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Artificial Insemination by partner (AIH) involves the insertion of semen
obtained from the husband which has been washed and treated into the cervix of
the woman in order to achieve pregnancy. With lower sperm quality insertion of
sperm higher up the reproductive tract reduces the distance sperm have to swim
to get to the egg (oocyte).

It is estimated that hundreds of couples in Australia seek AIH each year. This
figure is increasing rapidly as this facility gains acceptance and publicity.
Whenever male infertility is untreatable, AIH may be employed as a helpful
Method to provide the infertile couple with their desired family.

Indications for A.I.H. include:

i)      difficulties in intercourse but potentially normal sperm production, e.g.
        anatomical problems;
ii)     some abnormalities of seminal analysis;
iii)    when the cervical mucus appears to be "hostile" to sperm penetration

A few days before ovulation is due, the woman attends Concept Fertility Centre
or one of the collection centres early in the morning for blood tests which will
help to ascertain the time of ovulation. Another indicator may be an alteration in
the properties of the cervical mucus.

Following this, insemination usually occurs once, occasionally twice per
cycle around the time of ovulation.

Normally, fresh semen is used in A.I.H. The male partner provides a
sample of sperm to Concept Fertility Centre. This is treated, e.g.
washed, and then placed inside the cervix or even into the uterus of the

The actual insemination is quite simple and painless and the woman may attend
the surgery alone. However, her partner may also attend the insemination.

Frozen semen may be used. The sperm is frozen and stored in "straws" in liquid
nitrogen. In preparation for insemination straws are thawed and the sperm
washed and placed into a catheter.. The doctor or nurse places the catheter
containing the sperm through the cervix into the uterus where the sperm is
deposited.. The woman then rests for about 20 minutes to aid conception,
before the two-week wait to see whether or not a period arrives. Blood tests may
be undertaken at Concept Fertility Centre to monitor the developing pregnancy.

V2 May 2005

This method is useful when the male partner is routinely likely to be absent at the
fertile time of the month for the woman and has stored some sperm with Concept

If, after 3-6 covered cycles (cycles where artificial insemination was performed),
the procedure is still unsuccessful, the treatment may be reviewed and
sometimes the client will be advised to take fertility drugs, hormone tablets or
some other suitable medication to enhance her fertility.

If it is going to be successful, most pregnancies will occur within the first three
months of treatment. Semen frozen and stored from men of "normal" fertility
and used for AI of their partners will usually result in a good pregnancy rate.
Couples having to resort to AIH for treatment of infertility, will still generally
produce poor to moderate results. Factors such as the woman's age may also
affect the success of the treatment. Treatment continues until pregnancy occurs
or until there is mutual agreement between the client and the doctor, that a
different treatment needs to be undertaken.

There is an infertility self-help group called Genesis. Concept Fertility Centre
can also provide access to an independent counsellor at no cost to all couples
seeking support and clarification on the use of AIH.

Seeking emotional support such as this is not something to be embarrassed
about as most couples undergo great stress during this time. Concept Fertility
Centre recommends a counselling session prior to commencement on any
Assisted Reproductive programme.

Most faiths appear to be flexible in Assisted Reproductive processes. The
Roman Catholic Church requires sperm to be collected using a Semen
Collection Device (SCD) at normal intercourse and these needs can be catered
for at Concept Fertility Centre.

V2 May 2005

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