By Neus Ferrando Gilabert BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 03/28/2014

Although artificial insemination (AI) consists of a safe assisted reproductive technique and AI centres keep on improving their security protocols so that problems do not emerge, complications still may occur.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Risks of this technique

Risks associated with this technique include:

  • Infections: for every 1,000 women who undergo AI, 1.8 develops some kind of infection. The likelihood of developing an infection is 0.07 per cent per insemination cycle.
  • Allergies: it is possible to develop some kind of allergy to any component of the seminal lavage, although it is highly unlikely. In fact, this is probably the less common side effect found among women who have undergone AI.
  • Immune reactions:creation of antisperm-antibodies among women undergoing AI. Only women who present this risk are those who have been detected earlier antisperm-antibodies. The likelihood is less than 5 per cent.

Sperm stain

Risks of ovarian stimulation

Main risks of inseminations are associated with ovarian stimulation undergone by women. However, although ovarian stimulation is considered as a controlled, non-dangerous technique, the next side effects may occur:

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): it is highly unlikely and can be easily solved by cancelling the insemination cycle.
  • Multiple births: it occurs between 12-30 per cent of women, being more frequent between young women who have more than 5 ovarian follicles larger than 16 mm and who have been inseminated with 30 million sperm or more.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

Complications of pregnancy

Complications of pregnancy may include:

  • Miscarriage: it is estimated to occur approximately between 20-20% of the cases, most of which during early weeks of pregnancy.
  • An ectopic pregnancy: according to statistics, 4 out of every 100 women undergoing artificial insemination may have an ectopic pregnancy, while its probability after natural insemination is 0.8%. As we have seen, problems related to artificial insemination are highly unlikely.

Ectopic pregnancy

  • Multiple births: conceived naturally. They occur, partly, because of ovarian stimulation.
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Authors and contributors

 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information
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