The Risks of Artificial Insemination

When unable to conceive naturally, women tend to turn to artificial insemination. But do they really know what they're getting into? Read on to find out the risks you can run into when having artificial insemination.

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Artificial insemination has been proven to help those who are having trouble conceiving, but what are the possible risks when deciding to go into this kind of assisted fertility treatment? Conception may happen naturally to some couples, but to a number of people, having a baby is sometimes no walk in the park.

Fortunately, there are now fertility treatments that couples (or single women who wish to have a child of their own sans partner) may opt to have. One of those treatments that have been tested and proven, without having to break the bank, is artificial insemination.

What exactly is artificial insemination?

This is a kind of assisted fertility treatment wherein semen is injected directly into a woman’s reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes, cervix,or uterus (a kind of artificial insemination known as intrauterine insemination or IUI). Doing artificial insemination ups the chances of the semen immediately fertilizing a woman’s mature egg without the obstructions of sexual intercourse, where semen has to swim up the vagina, go through the cervix and down the fallopian tubes first before meeting an egg (if the sperm even gets there without dying).
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twins-babies

To troubled couples who have a hard time conceiving on their own, artificial insemination could be the answer. But like anything that’s too good to be true, there is still a catch. Quite a number of catches, actually. If you are looking into having artificial insemination, better be armed with knowledge on the possible risks involved.

Multiple births

When going through artificial insemination, the woman is normally asked to take fertility drugs before ovulation to make the treatment more effective. A possible side effect from this is having multiple births (twins, triplets, and in some rare instances, even quadruplets or more). For infertile couples, having twins or triplets on the first go at artificial insemination is a blessing in itself, but note that having multiple births could cause possible birth defects like Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or heart developmental ailments when the pregnancy is not managed properly.

 

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Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

OHSS happens when the ovaries swell as an effect to fertility medication taken as requisite for artificial insemination. Although this doesn’t happen to all women, those who experience it have discomforts such as nausea and headaches, vomiting, cramps felt in the abdomen, sometimes dehydration or chest pains have been reported in some serious cases. Best to seek a doctor’s treatment to alleviate this rather than self-medicating.

 

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Side effects from fertility drugs

Apart from the possibility of multiple births, there are a number of side effects from taking fertility drugs to boost artificial insemination. Depression or erratic mood swings (as if the monthly periods aren’t enough!), nausea and headaches, pelvic discomfort, and cramping are some of the noted disturbances that happen to women who have taken fertility drugs.

 

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Pregnancy complications

This may not always be the case, but do consider the woman’s age when going through artificial insemination. Albeit successful, there could be a run of pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or in some cases, miscarriage or premature birth if the pregnancy is not properly monitored, or if the woman runs the risk considering her age.

 

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Unwanted diseases

Sure, there is a lower chance of contracting sexually transmitted diseases with artificial insemination because there’s really no intercourse involved, but think again. If getting a sperm donor instead of your partner’s, then be sure to run the necessary back-up health check. The last thing you need is to contract unwanted diseases or worse, pass this on to your child.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ANGELA VERA

 

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