If you’ve been on the fertility journey for a while, you’ve likely encountered the complexity of options available. In this guide, we’re shedding light on one of the time-tested fertility procedures — Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).
Who Goes for IUI?
The ideal candidates for IUI include those dealing with:
· Unexplained infertility
· Cervical mucus issues
· Low sperm count or motility problems
· Impotence or premature ejaculation challenges
· Single parents or LGBTQ+ couples
· Semen allergies or vaginismus
It’s important to note that IUI is an option for those with a healthy uterus and at least one open fallopian tube.
What’s the IUI Process?
IUI involves placing sperm directly into the uterus, bypassing the usual journey through the vaginal canal and cervix. This procedure, typically done in a doctor’s office, often pairs with ovulation-inducing drugs. Ovulation is closely monitored with blood tests and ultrasounds. During the most fertile window, the partner or donor sperm is washed, separating it from semen and removing non-moving sperm and disease-carrying material.
The washed sperm is then loaded into a syringe attached to a thin, flexible tube (IUI catheter). This catheter is inserted through the vagina, cervical opening, and into the uterus, releasing the sperm.
What About Costs?
IUI costs vary based on insurance coverage, doctor’s fees, medication expenses, and the use of frozen donor sperm. Out-of-pocket expenses typically range from $400 to $2,000 per attempt.
Facing Reality: Success Rates
Success rates hinge on factors like age. Those under 35 have a 10–20% chance per attempt, decreasing to around 10% for ages 35–40, and dropping further for those over 40. Fertility drugs may enhance success rates, and the number of attempts matters, with the best chances within the first three.
IUI vs. IVF or IVI
While IUI and IVF are medical procedures performed by doctors, Intravaginal insemination (IVI) is a DIY process. IUI delivers washed sperm into the uterus, IVI introduces unwashed sperm to the cervical opening, and IVF involves a more intricate process starting with hormonal treatments and culminating in embryo transfer to the uterus.
IUI, IVF, and IVI offer distinct paths to conception. IVI is simpler and less expensive, IUI provides screened and cleaned sperm, and IVF involves a comprehensive lab-based fertilization process. Whichever path you take, know that support is available. Reach out, and may your journey be successful!