Intrauterine Insemination: What You Need to Know
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a procedure that involves placing sperm into the uterus at the time of ovulation. This procedure is done as an alternative to intercourse and a common procedure done for infertility purposes. The goal of intrauterine insemination is to greatly increase the number of sperm that make their way to the woman’s fallopian tubes in order to improve the chances of fertilization. IUI is a cheaper, simpler, and less invasive procedure than in vitro fertilization.
There are many different reasons you might need to go through this procedure, as listed below.
The first reason you may need to undergo the IUI procedure is if you suffer from female infertility. This means some part of your reproductive system is keeping you from getting pregnant the natural way. This might be due to not ovulating, having endometriosis, or possibly having a anatomic factor (in the cervix, uterus, or fallopian tube) that affects sperm from reaching your eggs. At Northeastern Reproductive Medicine, we offer tests you to help identify any female causes of sub-fertility. The IUI procedure boosts fertility by allowing the sperm to get through the cervix and help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Male infertility is another common reason to need an IUI. For example, the quantity of sperm, motility of the sperm, or mophology (shape) of the sperm may be lower than standard norms. The higher the quantity, the more likely you are to become pregnant. However, when the numbers get lower, for example around 10-15 million, IUI can help. Another scenario in which IUI is successful occurs when the male partner suffers from erectile dysfunction. Sperm can be collected ahead of time (they can even be collected weeks or months ahead of time and frozen) and IUI can be done at NRM without the stress of getting pregnant through intercourse.
In some cases when you have been trying for a year or longer without success, the tests don’t show a clear reason. You may be ovulating normally and your partner has healthy sperm, but you are experiencing unexplained sub-fertility. Used along with fertility-boosting medications for the female, IUI is utilized to move the sperm into the uterus and increase your chances, regardless of the reason for your infertility.
Women Who Are Using Donor Sperm
If you are single and desire to become pregnant, or you are in a same sex relationship, you may use donor sperm with IUI to conceive. Donor sperm can be shipped to NRM from an FDA- approved cryobank (such as Seattle Cryobank, New England Cryobank, or California Cryobank) and stored at NRM until you detect ovulation in your natural cycle. IUI can then be scheduled with our team at NRM.
IUI is also used in the cases where you have cervical mucus issues or a hostile cervical environment. If past procedures resulted in cervical scar tissue that may be hindering the sperm’s functionality to make its way into the uterus, intrauterine insemination may also be recommended.
To learn more about IUI and the reasons it might be a good option for you, contact us at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine in Vermont: 1 802-655-8888.