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Schematic illustration of artificial insemination
Artificial insemination (AI) is the deliberate introduction of sperm into a female's uterus or cervix for the purpose of achieving a pregnancy through in vivo fertilization by means other than sexual intercourse. It is a fertility treatment for humans, and is a common practice in animal breeding, including dairy cattle (see Frozen bovine semen) and pigs.
Artificial insemination may employ assisted reproductive technology, sperm donation and animal husbandry techniques. Artificial insemination techniques available include intracervical insemination and intrauterine insemination. The primary beneficiaries of artificial insemination are women who desire to give birth to their own child. They may be in a heterosexual relationship but with the male partner suffering from male infertility, in a lesbian relationship or are single women. Intracervical insemination (ICI) is the easiest and most common insemination technique and can be used in the home for self-insemination without medical practitioner assistance. Compared to natural insemination (i.e., insemination by sexual intercourse), artificial insemination can be more expensive and more invasive, and may require professional assistance.
There are laws in some countries which restrict and regulate who can donate sperm and who is able to receive artificial insemination, and the consequences of such insemination. Some women who live in a jurisdiction which does not permit artificial insemination in the circumstance in which she finds herself may travel to another jurisdiction which permits it. (See Sperm donation laws by country and fertility tourism.)
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