Even a decade ago, when patients faced infertility, the first option that came to mind was in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Today, however, there are many fertility treatment options. One of the most common is intrauterine insemination (IUI).
What is Intrauterine Insemination?
IUI is a processing of using artificial means to place sperm into the uterus. According to the University of Minnesota, it is a less complex and less-invasive therapy than IVF or egg donation IVF. In that regard, many women consider it a starter step for fertility treatment.
The overall success rate of this procedure is 10 to 20 percent per cycle. The percentage is based on multiple factors such as a woman’s age, length of the period of infertility, and the quality of sperm used.
A woman’s cervix limits the number of sperm that reach her uterus. The IUI procedure bypasses the cervix and inserts sperm directly into the uterus near ovulation. This considerably shortens the time it takes the sperm to reach the Fallopian tubes and allows more sperm to approach an egg. This means a greater chance of becoming pregnant.
Fertility Treatment Options: Reasons for Choosing IUI
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine indicates that IUI is helpful in these situations:
- Female who is infertile: The procedure can help women who have cervical scarring from prior surgery. It can also boost the pregnancy chances of some patients who take medication that causes them to produce several eggs instead of one.
- Male who is infertile: The most common use is when a male has sperm count or mobility issues or has anatomical problems that make it difficult for him to impregnate a partner.
- Preserving fertility: Because of an impending vasectomy, cancer treatment such as radiation, or testicular surgery, some men opt to freeze sperm for future intrauterine insemination at one of the fertility clinics in New York City.
- Reproduction via a third party: A man who is not the partner of the female provides sperm.
How a New York Fertility Clinic Performs IUI
Once the sperm necessary for IUI has been collected, the staff “washes” a sample in the lab. This can take as long as two hours.
The timing of IUI must be near the female’s ovulation. The procedure itself is performed in the fertility clinic NYC office and takes just a few minutes. While the woman is on the exam table, a clinician uses a catheter to insert the washed sample slowly into the uterus. Although some women report mild cramping, the procedure is usually painless.
Undergoing intrauterine insemination does not increase the chance of delivering children with birth defects, which is 2 to 4 percent. For women taking fertility medications at the time of an IUI, there is a higher chance of conceiving multiples than without these drugs. Clinicians typically recommend more aggressive therapies like IVF after three IUI cycles.