Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Artificial insemination history: hurdles and milestones

W. Ombelet1,2, J. Van Robays3

1Genk Institute for Fertility Technology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, ZiekenhuisOost-Limburg, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk, Belgium.

2Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium.

3Department of Pathology, ZOL, Campus St Jan, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk, Belgium.

Correspondence at:


Artificial insemination, assisted reproduction, history, human, intrauterine insemination, semen

Published online: Jun 30 2015


Artificial insemination with homologous (AIH) or donor semen (AID) is nowadays a very popular treatment procedure used for many subfertile women worldwide. The rationale behind artificial insemination is to increase gamete density at the site of fertilisation.
The sequence of events leading to today’s common use of artificial insemination traces back to scientific studies and experimentation many centuries ago. Modern techniques used in human artificial insemination programmes are mostly adapted from the work on cattle by dairy farmers wishing to improve milk production by using artificial insemination with sperm of selected bulls with well chosen genetic traits.
The main reason for the renewed interest in artificial insemination in human was associated with the refinement of techniques for the preparation of washed motile spermatozoa in the early years of IVF.
The history of artificial insemination is reviewed with particular interest to the most important hurdles and milestones.