Overcoming Infertility with Intrauterine Insemination
At the Women’s Health Group, when our patients are not having success getting pregnant, one of our first, and easiest, treatment approaches is intrauterine insemination. Commonly known as artificial insemination, the goal is to help the sperm reach the fallopian tube and fertilize the egg. It is a less invasive and less expensive option when compared with in vitro fertilization.
When do we use intrauterine insemination?
Our most common issues for using intrauterine insemination (IUI) are a low sperm count in the male or decreased sperm mobility. These are other reasons we will try IUI as a treatment option:
- A hostile cervical condition, which can be bypassed with IUI
- Unexplained infertility
- Ejaculation dysfunction
- Cervical scar tissue that hinders the ability of the sperm to enter the uterus
How do we perform IUI?
Intrauterine insemination is not complicated. The goal is to simply give the sperm a head start, placeing them near their final destination near the egg. We may or may not combine IUI with ovulation stimulating medications, usually not with the first attempt. We try and perform IUI around the time of ovulation.
To maximize the number of sperm cells that we place in the uterus, we first have the semen sample from the spouse or partner washed at the lab. This separates the sperm cells from the seminal fluid, and removes any mucous or other toxins that may be hindering the sperm. We then take a catheter to insert the sperm directly into the uterus, increasing the possibility of conception. The procedure takes just a few minutes and is not uncomfortable.
The success rates of IUI are individual, as you would expect. However, if we perform IUI each month, the success rates may reach as high as 20% per cycle. Success depends on the age of the patient, the causes of infertility, and other variables. When compared with in vitro, IUI has a lower success rate, but the cost is vastly lower, too. We have found the most success with women under the age of 35.
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, we have a variety of options for testing the fertility of both partners, along with treatment options progressing from there. Intrauterine insemination is one of the tools we use. Call us at 817-346-5336 and schedule an appointment and we’ll see how we can help.