As long as the man has enough healthy, mobile (even if mobility is reduced), and viable sperm, one of the most economical fertility treatments can be considered: Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI).
What Is Intrauterine Insemination?
During IUI, at the approximate time of ovulation, prepared sperm cells are introduced into the uterus in order to bring them closer to the woman’s egg. This type of artificial insemination works by placing sperm, which is washed and concentrated, in order to increase effectiveness, directly into the uterus right before ovulation.
Who Should use Intrauterine Insemination?
Though intrauterine insemination is used in a variety of cases, it is recommended for a few particular situations. IUI is often one of the first attempts at artificial insemination if the male has a low sperm count, since it concentrates a sperm sample. It is also common if the female is using a sperm donor or if she is unable to have vaginal intercourse. Men with HIV can also use intrauterine insemination in order to lessen the likelihood of passing HIV to their partner and child.
How Is the Procedure Done?
The first step in intrauterine insemination is to ensure that the uterus and fallopian tubes are fully functional. A day is then scheduled for the procedure. If the female is taking fertility drugs, the intra-uterine insemination will occur 36-40 hours after ultrasound scans indicate that an egg is mature and ready for release. Otherwise, it happens during the window of fertility in the woman’s ovulation cycle. The male then provides a sperm sample, and the sample is washed to remove excess fluid and slower sperm. The sperm is then inserted into a small flexible tube, called a catheter, which is then inserted through the cervix into the uterus.
Are There Any Risks in Intrauterine Insemination?
Intrauterine insemination is mostly safe, and there are few serious complications. However, a few issues may occur. During the procedure, some women may contract an infection, but this happens to less than 1 percent of patients. The procedure is mostly pain free, but some cramping or spotting may occur. When intrauterine insemination is combined with fertility drugs, the chances of having a multiple pregnancy greatly increases.
How Successful is Intrauterine Insemination?
Intrauterine Insemination is often successful. For women who received IUI, the percentage of women who successfully gave birth is 15.8 percent for women under the age of 35, 11 percent for women aged 35 to 39, 4.7 percent for women aged 40 to 42, and 1.2 percent for women aged 43-44. It is common for doctors to recommend three to six attempts at IUI before other fertility treatments are discussed.