Artificial insemination is a procedure used to treat infertility. Healthcare providers put sperm into your vagina near the cervix or directly into the uterus. The cervix is the bottom part of your uterus. Sperm may come from your partner or a sperm bank, or be donated by someone else.

What medicine may I need before insemination?

You may need to take hormones, such as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), that help you ovulate. Hormones increase your chances of getting pregnant.

What tests may I need before insemination?

  • Pelvic exam: Your healthcare provider gently puts a warmed speculum into your vagina. A speculum is a tool that opens your vagina. This lets your healthcare provider see your cervix. Your healthcare provider will check the size and shape of your uterus and ovaries. A pelvic exam is also called an internal or vaginal exam.
  • Blood and urine tests: Your healthcare provider may do blood or urine tests to check your hormone levels. The level of certain hormones, such as luteinizing hormone, can show that your ovaries are ready to ovulate. You may need to test your urine at home for this hormone.
  • Vaginal ultrasound: A small tube is placed in your vagina. Sound waves are used to show pictures of your uterus and ovaries on a TV-like screen. This test shows if your eggs are ready to be fertilized by the sperm.

What will my male partner need to do before insemination?

Your male partner may need to avoid ejaculating (releasing semen) for a few days before insemination. When you start to ovulate, your partner will provide a sample of his semen. Before insemination, the semen will be washed and the sperm checked to see if it is normal.

What happens during insemination?

Artificial insemination can be done using 3 different methods. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about the best way for you to have insemination. After insemination, you may need to lie flat on your back for several minutes.

  • Intrauterine insemination: A catheter (thin rubber tube) is placed into your vagina and uterus. Sperm is put into your uterus through the catheter.
  • Cervical insemination: Healthcare providers put sperm on the opening of your cervix using a catheter. Slippery mucus in your cervix may help the sperm travel into your uterus.
  • Intraperitoneal insemination: Healthcare providers insert a needle into your abdomen and put the sperm into one or both of your fallopian tubes.

What are the risks of insemination?

  • Medicine to help you ovulate may cause stomach pain, headaches, or nausea. You may have a higher risk of ovarian cysts. Ovulation medicine may cause a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). With mild OHSS, you may have abdominal pain and weight gain. Your ovaries may grow larger. With severe OHSS, fluid may collect in the tissues outside of your abdomen, which can cause trouble breathing.
  • You may be allergic to the catheter used for insemination. Your uterus or another organ may be damaged, causing severe abdominal pain. If a needle is used to inject sperm, it may cause bleeding, or you may get an infection. You may get pregnant with more than one baby. Even after insemination, you still may not get pregnant.

Where can I find support and more information?

  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
    1209 Montgomery Highway
    Birmingham , AL 35216-2809
    Phone: 1- 205 - 978-5000
    Web Address:
  • RESOLVE The National Infertility Association
    1760 Old Meadow Rd, Ste 500
    McLean , VA 22102
    Phone: 1- 703 - 556-7172
    Web Address:

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You cannot make it to an appointment.
  • You are gaining weight but do not know why.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have discharge coming out of your vagina that has a bad smell.
  • You feel sick to your stomach or you are throwing up.
  • You have pain in your abdomen that does not go away.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have bleeding from your vagina that is not your monthly period.
  • You have sudden and severe pain in your abdomen.
  • You begin to urinate less than usual or not at all.