Unexplained infertility is a frustrating and emotionally painful diagnosis for anyone eager to start or grow a family. Fortunately, some fertility treatments can address a wide variety of reproductive obstacles. For potential parents with unexplained infertility, one of those treatments might be intrauterine insemination (IUI).
IUI has an excellent track record of success even when the exact cause of infertility hasn’t been identified.
What Is IUI?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a procedure involving the introduction of sperm provided by a donor or the potential parent, to a mature egg (the treatment is also commonly known as artificial insemination). This option is among the least invasive and most affordable fertility treatments.
IUI allows the sperm to bypass the vaginal canal and cervix by placing the sperm directly into the uterine cavity near the fallopian opening.
When is IUI Used?
Intrauterine insemination is an effective treatment for unexplained infertility, but it has also helped promote successful pregnancies for potential parents experiencing a variety of fertility challenges, including
- Low sperm count
- Hostile cervical environment
- Ovulation-related fertility challenges
- Human seminal plasma hypersensitivity (HSP)
IUI is an excellent option for same-sex couples and single potential parents who require donor sperm.
What is Involved in the IUI Process?
Here is what you can expect if you are a candidate for IUI treatment in Los Angeles, Orange County or Riverside:
Depending on your unique circumstances, you may or may not need medication to induce the growth of one or more eggs (ovulation induction) to increase your chance of conception.
Common fertility medications include
This oral medication is taken for five days, usually early in your cycle.
- Hormone injection
You may also be prescribed a one-time hormone injection (gonadotropins) to trigger the release of one or more mature eggs.
Injectable prescriptions are typically more powerful than oral medications, which is why most physicians prefer trying oral medication first.
In a natural cycle (without fertility medications), your reproductive specialist will time your IUI with your natural ovulation. During a medicated cycle, you may need additional urine ovulation tests, bloodwork, or pelvic ultrasounds to confirm ovulation. All of these tests can be performed at our fertility clinic in California.
Sperm collection and processing
The sperm used in intrauterine insemination must first undergo a process called “sperm washing.” The sperm are separated from the rest of the seminal fluid using density gradient centrifugation. Seminal fluid may contain elements that could potentially inhibit fertilization. Sperm washing extracts the unhealthy, low-motility sperm and leaves a high concentration of healthy sperm, increasing your chance of pregnancy.
Insemination itself is a relatively simple process. Once ovulation is confirmed, your doctor will place the washed sperm into a very thin cannula with a syringe at the end. Most patients describe this procedure as causing minimal discomfort and may feel like a Pap smear. The insemination itself takes less than five minutes and does not require anesthesia.
Your doctor may ask you to remain on your back for several minutes immediately following the procedure. However, there are no activity restrictions or bedrest requirements after IUI.
What are the Benefits of IUI?
IUI is one of the simpler and more affordable fertility treatments available. It is a minimally invasive procedure that most patients find comfortable and non-stressful.
IUI is frequently among the first recommended treatments for patients experiencing unexplained infertility.
Is IUI Right for Me?
Intrauterine insemination may help you overcome specific fertility issues (e.g., low sperm count, suboptimal ovulation, etc.) by directly introducing sperm to a mature egg.
However, your reproductive team must thoroughly evaluate the best treatment plan for your unique circumstances.
What is the success rate of IUI?
The overall success rate of each IUI cycle is between 10 and 20 percent. Still, much of this depends on the reasons for IUI and the age of the female (one of the most important determining factors to success rates of IUI cycles).
Chances may be higher in patients with no known fertility challenges, such as couples unable to have intercourse due to travel or sexual dysfunction and those using donor sperm.
When do I find out if I am pregnant?
After undergoing an IUI procedure, you will likely be anxious to find out whether it has resulted in a pregnancy. Bloodwork or a urine pregnancy test should be accurate about 14 days after the IUI procedure.
At PRC, we are proud to help women overcome their fertility issues and achieve healthy pregnancies. If you think intrauterine insemination could help you welcome a beautiful baby into your family, please contact the PRC team for a consultation today.
Don’t Let Fertility Obstacles Stand in Your Way. Contact Us Today to Learn More About IUI in Orange County, Los Angeles and Riverside.