Artificial insemination: How does it work and how much does it cost in South Africa?

According to a News24 article, infertility affects 15-20% of the South African population, and the global stats are the same. An infertile couple is considered as one that has been trying to conceive for 12 months with no success. Over the years, couples trying to have a baby have been given more options to try, even amid conception challenges.

ALSO SEE: Did you know 1 in 4 couples in developing countries struggle with infertility ?

How does artificial insemination work?

In 1899, Russian biologist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was the first to develop artificial insemination methods in human medicine. Since then, artificial insemination has been developed and refined.

Some of the most prominent infertility issues that warrant artificial insemination could be the man’s sperm lacking the speed to fertilise an egg, or the woman’s cervix that doesn’t allow the sperm to travel to the uterus due to some issues. These issues could include a damaged uterine lining or fallopian tube.

According to Netflix’s Sex Explained, a “man’s sperm has a 1 in 250 000 000 chance of successfully fertilising an egg.

In the case of artificial insemination, a man’s sperm is frozen, cleaned, and inserted into a woman’s cervix or vagina.

Intracervical insemination (ICI )

According to Healthline, the man’s sperm is inserted in the vagina using a special syringe. The woman will be required to lie down for 15-30 minutes with her feet up when she’s ovulating to increase the chance of the egg traveling to the uterus. This can either be done in the doctor’s rooms or at home.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

IUI is the same procedure, but a special syringe is used to insert the sperm directly into the uterus past the cervix. This is a more expensive procedure.

How much does artificial insemination cost in South Africa?

In 2019 Medfem Fertility Clinic charged R7 570. This does not include consultation, which costs R2 200. Before a couple receives treatment, it is important to do some tests.

In 2019, MedFem’s costings for investigation was as per the below:

  • Female blood tests: Up to ±R4,035.00 (depending on the tests requested)
  • Male blood tests: Up to ±R4,035.00 (depending on the tests requested)
  • Semen Analysis: R1,798.00

A single round of artificial insemination may not be sufficient and some couples need more than one. This, unfortunately, multiplies the cost of trying to conceive through medical intervention.

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