MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: Can you get prengnant by injecting the sperm into the vagina yourself?

Date: Wed Aug 3 12:21:59 2005
Posted By: R. James Swanson, Professor, Biological Sciences & Obstetrics and Gynecology; Graduate Program Director, PhD in Biomedical Sciences Program
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1123018703.Gb


Excellent question!  Getting pregnant is exactly the process of injecting 
sperm into the vagina.   Generally the girl doesnít do it herself but the 
sperm is injected by (we would hope) the husband and owner of the sperm 
supply.  The cost of artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, or 
other techniques is due to the fact that couples going through any one of 
these assisted reproductive technology (ART) processes are not able to get 
pregnant in the natural course of having sex during the ovulatory phase of 
the womanís cycle.  The mother- or father- to-be may have a problem that 
needs assistance to overcome for pregnancy to occur.  In some cases the 
problem is a combination of the two, and either one might be able to 
produce a baby with a different spouse.  If a woman and her husband do not 
have any reproductive problems, then the husband could indeed collect a 
sperm sample and hand it over to the wife who could then draw it up into a 
syringe and inject it into the vagina.  If this were done at the time of 
ovulation, a pregnancy could occur.  Of course this is a whole lot of 
trouble to go through when it would be much easier and better for the 
relationship (and more fun) to just have a wonderful dinner out, take in a 
movie or concert, enjoy walking around the neighborhood talking about 
future plans (maybe for a family), and then go home and enjoy each otherís 
company intimately, with intercourse as a part of the whole package of 
time spent together.  ARTs is expensive only because the doctors and 
scientists have to determine where the problem lies and what technique 
will be the best one to use to overcome the problem.  Then the couple have 
to be scheduled to come in and go through the procedure.  If you take the 
sperm injection idea for an example, a husband that has a particular type 
of sperm problem where his best sperm are in very low numbers, would come 
in and produce a semen sample for the andrology laboratory to then process 
in such a way that the good sperm would be separated out and 
concentrated.  These sperm would be given to the doctor who would not just 
put them in the vagina but actually run a very thin tube through the 
opening of the cervix and place the good sperm in the uterus.  This would 
mean less distance for the sperm to swim and also bypass the cervical 
barrier to sperm passage.  This becomes very costly as the various 
techniques available to the doctors increase in complexity.

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