If you and your partner have been trying to conceive without any success, you may want to consider looking into IUI (intrauterine insemination). If you’re not familiar with this unique fertilization process, it is one that entails inserting sperm directly into a woman’s uterus, cervix or fallopian tubes, which gives sperm a head start and improves the chances of fertilization.
What helps with Success Rates?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, a national health organization committed to promoting reproductive and pregnancy wellness, there are a number of factors that will dictate a woman’s success rate when it comes to intrauterine insemination, including her age, quality of the male sperm sample, and the status of her fallopian tube as one of them must be open.
Who Should Consider Intrauterine Insemination?
Intrauterine insemination is an effective treatment for a variety of fertility problems. For example, it is commonly used for men who have either a low sperm count or sperm that is incapable of swimming through the cervix and ultimately into the fallopian tubes to facilitate fertilization. In addition, it is also used to address fertility issues in women who may be struggling with abnormalities affecting their reproductive organs.
One of the most common reproductive problems a woman may face is endometriosis, which is a condition that causes the uterine lining to grow outside of the uterus and attach to other structures within the body. In this case, IUI can be helpful, but only if the endometriosis is not severe. Lastly, intrauterine insemination has proven to be effective in cases involving unreceptive cervical mucus, which is a condition that causes mucus to surround the cervix, preventing sperm from accessing the uterus and fallopian tubes. Intrauterine insemination works by allowing the sperm to bypass cervical mucus and travel through the cervix and into the uterus.
What You Can Expect During Your IUI Procedure
During your initial doctor visit, your physician will use an ovulation kit, ultrasound or blood work to ensure that you are ovulating before being artificially inseminated. Next, your significant other will be asked to provide a semen sample that will be liquefied at room temperature before chemicals are added, which helps to separate active sperm from inactive sperm.
Next, the sperm is placed into a catheter, which is then inserted into the vagina, passing through the cervix and finally into the uterus. Lastly, your physician will ask you to lie on your back for a minimum of 15 minutes to help improve the odds of the sperm making it into the uterus.
Is the Procedure Painful?
One of the many questions that women have regarding intrauterine insemination is whether or not the procedure is painful. This form of artificial insemination is not only short, but also relatively painless. In fact, many women who have undergone the procedure have described the feeling as being on par with that of a pap smear. It is important to note, however, that you may experience cramping as the procedure gets underway and some light bleeding shortly afterward.
What Is the Success Rate for IUI?
The success rate of intrauterine insemination can vary as there are a number of factors that determine how each woman will respond to the treatment, including whether or not fertility drugs were used, age and other variables. That aside, according to the American Pregnancy Association, intrauterine insemination success rates can be as high as 20 percent per cycle.
It is important to note that this assisted reproductive procedure may not work if any of the following applies:
- Low quality sperm or eggs
- Severe endometriosis
- Damaged fallopian tubes
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Over the age of 40
Is IUI Covered By Insurance?
Like most artificial insemination procedures, intrauterine insemination may not be covered by insurance and can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000. That said, it is a good idea to confer with your health insurance provider to confirm coverage, co-pay responsibilities, and deductibles.
All in all, intrauterine insemination can help improve your chance of conceiving and bringing a healthy baby into the world.