Intracervical Insemination (ICI) Overview
Whatever your circumstances, deciding to start a family should be an exciting time. For some people though, it can lead to a heavy heart if you have been trying for a long time, without any success. However, if you are in this position, you are not alone and there are things you can try to boost your chances of success.
Intracervical insemination (ICI) is a well established technique, and can be regarded as a safe and highly cost effective step to try before moving on to other forms of artificial insemination, which are generally more expensive, time consuming and invasive.
What is intracervical insemination?
In essence, intracervical insemination (ICI) refers to the process of transferring semen or ejaculate from a male, into the female reproductive tract, right next to the cervical opening, close to the female uterus. This process can be done either at home or at a fertility centre. When performing this procedure at home you can use a needless syringe such as the type which is included in the Eive Kits home insemination kit. When carried out at a fertility centre or hospital, this is often done using a catheter with a syringe attached to it.
How intracervical insemination works
For a healthy female, the ovulation process happens once each month. An egg is released from the ovaries, and if there is semen present, fertilisation takes place either once it has reached the uterus, or whilst the egg is making the journey along the Fallopian tube from the ovary to the uterus.
Sperm can survive within the female reproductive system for around 2-3 days. With ICI, the sperm is deposited as close as possible to the uterus, and then makes the journey through the uterus and into the Fallopian tubes so that fertilisation can take place.
It’s for this reason, when carrying out ICI at home, that it’s recommended that you lie down with your hips elevated after depositing the sperm, so that gravity can also do it’s bit to help the sperm on the journey from the cervix and towards the Fallopian tubes.
It’s then a matter of waiting, and if the egg is fertilised, it starts to divide into multiple cells (this is called mitosis), and then makes its way to the uterus. Once the fertilised egg gets to the uterus, it should then begin to develop into an embryo.
If the egg isn’t fertilised successfully for whatever reason, then your period will commence roughly two weeks afterwards, with the uterus lining being shed out of the body.
So timing is very important with ICI, and it should be done just before ovulation occurs. Eive Kits includes a guide to help you to know exactly when this will happen.
Who is intracervical insemination for?
People who use ICI come from a broad range of different backgrounds. People who might decide to use ICI include all of the following:
- Couples looking for an option to try at home before pursuing IUI
- Heterosexual couples where the male has semen issues such as low motility or having a low sperm count
- Heterosexual couples where the male has issues with intimacy, impotence or premature ejaculation.
- People with cervical mucus problems
- Couples with undiagnosed infertility issues
- LGBTQ+ families
- People for whom sex is painful or not appealing, or who might have a condition such as vaginismus or vulvadynia.
How much does ICI cost?
Part of the appeal of ICI is that when carried out at home, the only cost is for the insemination kit. There are a number of different home insemination kits to choose from. The Eive Kits 3 month kit costs £49.99 and comes with everything you need to carry out ICI at home and including a booklet detailing how to tell when you are about to ovulate.