Is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Right for Me?
When first exploring their fertility treatment options, many people assume that in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be the only option available for them. However, there are other procedures that could be a better fit for your situation depending on your diagnosis. One such procedure is intrauterine insemination (IUI).
What Is IUI?
IUI, also known as artificial insemination, is a procedure in which semen is specially prepared in a laboratory and then placed directly into a woman’s uterus around the time that she is ovulating. The procedure can be performed with or without fertility medications.
In a traditional pregnancy, the semen is deposited in the vagina near the cervix (the opening of the uterus); from there, the sperm must swim through the uterus and toward the fallopian tubes. Once in the fallopian tube, if there is an egg present, the sperm has an opportunity to fertilize the egg and create an embryo. While this sounds like a simple process, the sperm’s journey is actually rather long and difficult, even in the best of circumstances.
While a woman’s cervical mucus is typically thinner and lower in pH during ovulation, sperm only have a brief window of opportunity to leave the cervix area and get into the uterus before the cervix area thickens or becomes acidic and inhospitable to the sperm. The IUI procedure improves the chances of pregnancy by eliminating this first leg in the journey and giving the sperm more time to find its way to the fallopian tubes. IUI also helps by boosting the number of sperm traveling into the female reproductive tract and by synchronizing the timing so that the sperm and egg meet at the right time.
Who Is a Candidate for IUI?
In certain situations, IUI is often the first treatment option that people turn to. IUI has the greatest chance of success when the woman has at least one unobstructed fallopian tube, a healthy uterus, and the ability to ovulate. Male patients will be most successful within the procedure if they are producing healthy sperm. In terms of treating infertility, it is often used for patients who are diagnosed with:
- A mild case of male factor infertility
- Ovarian dysfunction
- Irregular ovulation
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Cervical issues
- Unexplained fertility
IUI is also used for people who are using donor sperm, including single women and lesbian couples.
IUI is a relatively simple procedure that can be useful in a wide range of fertility treatment scenarios. Learn more about IUI and other fertility options by contacting Aspire Fertility today.