Exploring fertility treatment options can be daunting. We’re here to help. Read on for the low-down on artificial insemination costs and procedures.
If you chat with your doctor about issues related to trying to conceive (TTC), they might recommend artificial insemination.
Now, this really isn’t as scary as it sounds, we promise.
Artificial insemination is one of the simplest fertility treatments that’s helped millions of people all over the world get pregnant.
It’s pretty quick to perform and has few unwanted side effects.
We’re guessing you’ve probably heard of artificial insemination before but may not know exactly how it works, what to expect or whether it’s right for you.
To help take some pressure off your shoulders, here’s the 411 on artificial insemination, the costs involved, and the details about the different types available.
We’re with you.
In this article: 📝
- What is artificial insemination?
- How does artificial insemination work?
- How much does artificial insemination cost?
- Trying to conceive?
What is artificial insemination?
Artificial insemination is a fertility treatment that delivers sperm directly to your cervix or uterus.
Basically, it works by making the trip to your eggs shorter for the sperm and cutting out any potential obstacles.
Conception through sex involves sperm traveling up the vaginal canal, through the cervix, into the uterus, and finally into a fallopian tube.
That’s where the sperm meets up with the egg to fertilize it. But, this can be a long trip!
Sometimes, sperm aren’t strong enough to make the journey.
Or, the cervix may have challenges when it comes to allowing a smooth passage for the traveling sperm.
There also might be a whole host of other things going on, from stress levels to health conditions that could get in the way.
So the best thing to do is get the advice of a professional fertility expert.
If you’ve struggled to conceive after six months of unprotected sex (or twelve months if you’re under 35), your doctor might recommend artificial insemination.
And it’s not only for those experiencing reproductive struggles.
Artificial insemination is also helpful for same-sex couples or single women wanting to start a family with donor sperm.
So, how exactly does it work? Here’s the 411.
How does artificial insemination work?
There are two main types of artificial insemination — intrauterine and intracervical.
We’ll take you through the details of each:
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
This is the most common type of artificial insemination, where sperm are inserted directly into your uterus.
The procedure will take place at your doctor’s office.
During IUI, your doctor will use a speculum to make your uterus easier to access (this is the same medical instrument you might see during a pap smear).
They’ll then insert a special, very thin instrument through your vagina to place the sperm into your uterus.
And that’s it.
If you’re feeling nervous, that’s totally understandable.
The good news is that lots of women say it’s a short and pretty painless experience.
You might experience mild cramping or light bleeding after, but that’s about all.
To increase the chances of success, medical professionals usually “wash” the sperm beforehand.
This means the most active sperm are given a better shot, and chemicals that might prevent fertilization are removed.
Your partner or donor will have to be with you at the clinic (or nearby), so this can happen within an hour of ejaculation.
Intracervical insemination (ICI)
Intracervical insemination involves inserting sperm into your cervix rather than your uterus.
It can be done either at a doctor’s office or at home.
This option is usually recommended alongside medications to induce ovulation, such as Femara or Clomid.
This will increase your chances of releasing multiple eggs.
With ICI, sperm are usually inserted into the cervix through your vagina using a syringe.
You might also use something called a cervical cap that stays in the cervix for a set amount of time (usually between 6 and 48 hours).
If this sounds a little daunting, don’t worry.
A cervical cap is just a little cup shaped like a sailor’s hat. It’s made of soft silicone and is inserted in your vagina to cover the entrance to your cervix.
Whether you go for IUI or ICI, you’ll probably lie down for 20 to 40 minutes afterward.
This gives the sperm the best chance of reaching their target.
Like IUI, your partner or sperm donor will also have to provide their semen sample soon before the procedure takes place.
If you’re at a clinic, they’ll do this in a private room, so they can hand a vial straight to staff.
How much does artificial insemination cost?
This will probably come as no surprise, but artificial insemination cost can be a major barrier for people trying to conceive.
There are a few solutions, though.
Depending on the clinic, intrauterine insemination (IUI) can cost anywhere between $500-$1,500 per cycle — and sometimes much more.
Doctors usually recommend trying it between three to six times, so you’re easily looking at a minimum of $3,000 to $6,000.
Costs also rise if you’re using donor sperm, which is typically between $900-$1,000 a vial.
Intracervical insemination (ICI) is much cheaper, with each cycle usually ranging between $200-$400.
Like IUI though, several attempts might be needed to conceive.
How to help fund artificial insemination costs
Your insurance company might cover at least a portion of these costs, so talking to your insurers should be your first port of call.
Even if they don’t cover the full artificial insemination costs, you might be able to get expenses like ultrasounds, semen testing, medications, and bloodwork paid.
Have a frank discussion with your chosen clinic too.
They might have special payment plans or discounts (for members of the military, for example).
There are also some amazing grant bodies that specialize in funding fertility treatments.
If you’re lucky enough to have a close support network of parents, friends, or other family members, telling them about your journey can be a great idea.
They might be able to help financially as well as emotionally.
This isn’t right for everyone’s relationships (and you know best here), but you may discover the simple yet powerful act of sharing really helps.
Trying to conceive?
We know trying to conceive can be a stressful, confusing, and, all too often, lonely time.
It’s a deeply personal journey that everyone experiences differently.
Know, though, that the Peanut TTC community is here for you.
We believe the more we talk about our experiences, the less isolating they feel.
And we’re rooting for you every single step of the way.