For couples hoping to conceive, there are a variety of things that can interfere, causing doubts, anxiety and even depression. Thankfully, modern advances in infertility treatment are continually helping more and more couples achieve their parenting goals. Our trained Reproductive Endocrinologists and fertility team can help you overcome the emotional, psychological and physical challenges facing you at this time.
As the field of fertility treatment continues to advance, we have various options you can explore when trying to conceive. One of the easiest methods involves Intrauterine insemination (IUI) while also being minimally costly and invasive compared to other treatment options, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Determining If IUI Is Best for Your Needs
IUI is ideal if you fall under the following scenarios:
-You don’t know the exact cause of your infertility (unexplained)
-If you are a male and you have a low sperm count
-If you are a female and your cervical mucus is too thick, stopping sperm from getting through, or the cervix has scar tissue blocking sperm penetration
-You are a female and your vagina is acidic, killing the sperm trying to get to the cervix
One of the beneficial things about IUI is that it’s a good starting point on your fertility journey. It’s not a huge investment in time or money so it’s a good place to begin and rule out other issues. Depending on whether you are using your partner’s sperm or having a sperm donor, IUI can help work around issues like mild endometriosis and cervical problems, as well as diminished sperm mobility or erectile or ejaculation issues. Likewise, it is a good option for same-sex couples or single women wanting to get pregnant without the risk of passing on a hereditary defect from your partner’s sperm.
What if IUI Isn’t a Good Choice?
IUI doesn’t work for all fertility issues such as:
-Women with moderate to severe endometriosis
-Women who have their fallopian tubes blocked or removed
-Women struggling with severe fallopian tube disease
-Men who can’t produce sperm (in that case, using a sperm donor is a good option)
What Determines the IUI Success Rate?
The outcome of infertility hinges on your age, the reason for your infertility, and whether or not you also need to turn to fertility drugs to successfully conceive. Unfortunately, the success rate drops in women over 40, or women unable to conceive after having three IUI cycles.
What Does IUI Look Like?
Before beginning your treatment, your partner will need to provide a semen sample (preferably a concentrated dose) after which we will wash and separate their sperm from their semen. As a woman, you could be put onto ovulation-stimulating medications and then monitored by hormonal or ultrasound testing. This determines when your eggs have matured so your IUI can be performed when your body is at its most fertile. It’s a little like having a pap smear done, in that the treatment is done quickly. A catheter will be placed into your vagina so it can reach up through the cervix, getting the sperm to successfully enter into your fallopian tubes. If everything goes as planned, one of your mature eggs will achieve fertilization.
What Happens After Treatment?
The time it takes for implantation to be achieved can vary. Anywhere from six to 12 days is possible, after which we wait for pregnancy to take place. Having a blood draw to check hormone levels will then determine if the procedure was successful.
Your fertility journey starts with taking good care of yourself so that your body is in a good place for conception and carrying a baby. Anything you can do to boost your overall health, like eating nutritionally sound meals, getting healthy exercise and halting any alcohol and tobacco use can prime you for your fertility treatments like IUI.
If you are ready to take the next step on your parenthood journey and haven’t been successful up to now, our Idaho Fertility Center team is here for you. Call our fertility team today if you have any questions or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified reproductive specialists. You are not alone!