Artificial insemination (AI) is the deliberate introduction of semen into a female's vagina or oviduct for the purpose of achieving a pregnancy through fertilisation by means other than copulation. It is the medical alternative to sexual intercourse, or natural insemination.
Artificial insemination is a fertility treatment for humans, and is a common practice in the breeding of dairy cattle and pigs. Artificial insemination may employ assisted reproductive technology, donated sperm, and/or animal husbandry techniques.
Artificial insemination is a means of attaining pregnancy not involving sexual intercourse. A couple having trouble getting pregnant can benefit from the exact timing and placement of the sperm. It can overcome instances where a woman's immune system can reject her partner's sperm as invading molecules. In the case of an impotent male, donor sperm may be used. It is also a means for a woman to conceive when two women wish to parent a child, or a single woman does not have a male partner, when she does not want a male partner, or when a male partner's physical limitation impedes his ability to impregnate her by sexual intercourse. Women who have issues with the cervix such as cervical scarring, cervical blockage from endometriosis, or thick cervical mucus may also benefit from artificial insemination since the sperm must pass through the cervix to result in fertilization. This method is often used for same-sex couples who wish to have a biological child. Lesbian(females) couples have an sperm donor. Gay(male) couples have an egg donor and a surrogate mother (similar to a birth mother).