Also called artificial insemination, intrauterine insemination (IUI) dates back to the late 18th century. Since the advancement of modern medicine, this procedure has high success rates. Now with IUI, healthy sperm are washed and then carefully placed inside a woman’s uterus.
Am I a candidate for IUI?
IUI can help couples conceive when infertility is an issue. Candidates include:
Anyone with a low sperm count or poor sperm movement (motility).
Women who are taking medications to produce extra eggs or ovulation, so insemination can be timed to increase chances of pregnancy.
Women with cervical problems, such as mucus abnormalities or scarring.
Women who experience pain during sex.
Men who have erectile dysfunction or problems with ejaculation.
Women who suffer from semen allergies.
Women who use donor sperm for conception.
Men who had sperm frozen and is not ready for a baby.
What is a cycle?
IUI requires the woman to have at least one functioning, open fallopian tube, as well as ability to ovulate. The man must produce a semen sample with healthy sperm. Each IUI procedure is called a “cycle,” which is the time from the first day of the woman’s menstrual period to ovulation. After insemination, a pregnancy test is done two weeks later.
What is involved in the intrauterine insemination process?
Egg production – The first step is for the ovaries to produce eggs. You may choose to proceed with an unstimulated, natural cycle, or use fertility drugs. The drugs is taken at the start of the menstrual period to stimulate the ovaries to produce several mature eggs.
Tracking the eggs – You will use an ovulation detection kit to pinpoint ovulation. As an egg burst out of the follicle, a surge of luteinizing hormone is released, which is detected with the kit. Insemination is scheduled for the next day.
Sperm washing – Once the woman ovulates, the partner must produce sperm, or sperm is taken via aspiration techniques. The sperm is processed in the lab so the hardiest, healthiest sperm is concentrated in a small amount of fluid.
Insemination – This involves the use of a long, thin catheter inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. This produces some mild cramping, but no pain.
Pregnancy test – Two weeks after insemination, a pregnancy test is done.
How long does intrauterine insemination take?
The actual insemination process only takes a few minutes. However, the entire cycle is around 3-4 weeks, including one week of fertility drugs and a two-week wait for the pregnancy test. Depending on your fertility issues, you may require 2-4 IUI cycles before achieving pregnancy. When IUI fails, a safe option is in vitro fertilization?
Does IUI work?
Success rates vary from couple to couple. The chance of pregnancy depends on the woman’s age and the extent of the fertility problems. Studies show a success rate of 5% for couples with unexplained infertility. For women who use fertility drugs, the pregnancy rate is between 10-16%.
What are the benefits of intrauterine insemination?
Many couples like using IUI because it is less invasive and cheaper than other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART). With male fertility issues, couples report having an easier time conceiving with IUI than when intercourse is timed. Additionally, this procedure allows the fertilization process to occur inside the female body.
How much does intrauterine insemination cost?
In the U.S., the average IUI cycle costs around $900, when the male partner’s sperm is used. The treatment costs vary, depending on what medication is required. When donor sperm is used, be prepared to pay more. Most insurance policies do not cover the expenses associated with ART.