Infertility Treatments: Artificial Insemination
The standard definition of infertility is the inability to become pregnant after a year of trying. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among married American women between 15 and 44, around 6 percent suffer from infertility. One of the basic treatment options is artificial insemination, more commonly called intrauterine insemination (IUI) today. Understanding how this treatment works can help reduce stress and give prospective patients an idea of whether they are potential candidates.
An IUI places washed and concentrated sperm in a women’s uterus. The ideal is scheduling it at the time an ovary releases eggs. The Mayo Clinic reports that this treatment differs from older types of insemination that placed sperm in the patient’s vagina, a procedure with a lower success rate. Doctors consider IUI a safe, simple outpatient procedure.
Infertility can be the result of many factors. Physicians most frequently use IUI under these circumstances:
- Becoming pregnant requires donor sperm.
- Infertility remains unexplained.
- Infertility is related to endometriosis.
- A male has subfertility.
- Infertility is caused by thick cervical mucus.
- A female is allergic to semen.
How Fertility Clinics in Vermont Use IUI
Depending on the specific fertility problem, an insemination might be used by itself when coordinating with a woman’s cycle or in conjunction with fertility medications. Patients who seek treatment at a clinic might experience it as a part of natural cycle IVF.
Before the procedure, the physician requires a semen sample, either from the male partner or a frozen sample from a donor. The staff washes the sample and separates higher- from lower-quality sperm. The greatest probability of pregnancy occurs with use of a highly concentrated sperm sample.
A female patient must look for signs of ovulation at home using a urine predictor kit. Some patients receive an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin to cause scheduled ovulation. Sometimes doctors utilize ultrasound to visualize the ovaries and the stage of growth of any eggs.
Prior to the insemination, the physician will present a plan that shows the timing of events surrounding the procedure. In most cases, a Vermont fertility clinic performs an IUI within a day or two following detected ovulation.
During an insemination, the physician inserts a catheter with healthy sperm into the uterus. It is usually advisable to wait at least two weeks before using a home pregnancy test. Earlier use can result in either a false negative or a false positive result.
Physicians often ask patients to return approximately two weeks after a home pregnancy test to undergo a blood test. Blood tests are significantly more sensitive in finding hormones related to pregnancy than home pregnancy kits are.
In the event that an initial insemination is not successful, patients often opt to try IUI a second time before considering other treatment options. Some undergo this therapy for up to six months.