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For those who are attempting to get pregnant, and are having trouble, fertility can be an issue. If a couple is struggling with a fertility problem, they may reach for their doctor to tell them of some major health issues. There are some cases, however, in which certain life choices can affect the...

A Closer Look At Intrauterine Insemination

Intrauterine InseminationOne fertility treatment that many clinics offer their patients is called intrauterine insemination (IUI). It is actually the most commonly used method of artificial insemination. IUI procedures can be done with donor sperm; however, the woman can use her male partner’s sperm if it is viable. So, both members of a couple can still be genetically linked to the baby, should conception occur.

Most couples are candidates for IUI if the woman is under the age of 45. But, if the woman has severe tubal blockage or if she has poor egg quality or other ovarian dysfunctions that cannot be treated, doctors will suggest in vitro fertilization (IVF) instead. IUI is much less expensive than IVF, so most couples prefer to try it if possible.

IUI procedures are commonly done when there is a problem with the male fertility. For instance, if the man in the couple has low sperm count or if he has problems with ejaculation or impotence, doctors may suggest intrauterine insemination. This is because any of those problems can make it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg during normal intercourse.

Intrauterine insemination procedures require that the sperm be “washed” before being used. This simply means that the sperm needs to be separated from the rest of the components of the semen sample.
The actual technique of the IUI procedure reminds most women of a pap smear examination. For an intrauterine insemination, a speculum is inserted into the vagina (just as is done for a pap smear). Then, the cervical area is gently cleansed. Next, the sperm is inserted into the uterus via a long catheter through the speculum.

Intrauterine insemination success rates depend upon several factors. First and foremost, the age of the woman needs to be considered. While this procedure is used on women up to the age of 45, it is most successful among women under the age of 38.

Also, whether or not the procedure will be successful may also depend upon when, exactly, it is done. Most doctors try to perform intrauterine insemination either within six hours of ovulation (either before or after).
An egg is only viable for 24 hours after it is released, so timing is important.

It has also been shown that women who use fertility drugs may have a greater success rate than those who do not. But, these women also risk having a multiple pregnancy which can be risky for the mother and her fetuses.

In general, intrauterine insemination success rates average between 5% and 25%.

There are few risks in the IUI procedure. A woman could experience mild pelvic pain or cramps for a short while after the procedure. Or, rarely, a woman could develop an infection in the uterus.

Doctors usually suggest trying four intrauterine insemination cycles (that is, trying the procedure four times, once after each month’s ovulation). If it has not been successful after four cycles, most doctors recommend trying another option.

Intrauterine insemination is not the right procedure for every couple, but it can help some couples defeat their infertility.

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