Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is considered a primary approach a fertility specialist will use when a couple is experiencing difficulty conceiving. The procedure is straightforward – a trained fertility specialist places sperm directly into a women’s uterus while she is ovulating. IUI may be an excellent first step in getting pregnant with the help of your team at Chelsea Fertility NYC.
What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?
A commonly used fertility treatment, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure that bypasses the cervix and places specially prepared sperm into a woman’s uterus around the time of ovulation. Placing the sperm directly into the uterus shortens the path that sperm would normally take to a woman’s fallopian tubes. This provides a better chance that more sperm will make their way to the egg and a pregnancy will occur. During an artificial insemination procedure a woman will lie comfortably on an exam table and the clinician will insert a speculum into her vagina to view her cervix. Then, a catheter (narrow tube) is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, and the washed semen sample is slowly injected. Overall the process is quite painless, some women have experienced mild cramping, but this is rare.
When is IUI Recommended?
There are a variety of reasons why a woman or couples experience difficulty having a baby, and IUI may be useful in certain situations:
A woman who does not release an egg regularly (ovulation) and may take medications to help ovulate regularly – IUI is added as an adjunct to enhance timing.
When a woman’s cervix has poor cervical mucus formation or scarring that prevents the sperm from entering the uterus from the vagina.
When the male partner has a low sperm count or if the movement of the sperm (motility) is less than ideal.
The male has problems developing an erection or being able to ejaculate (ED).
IUI is performed when couples use sperm from a man who is not the woman’s partner to have a baby, known as donor insemination (DI). DI is often performed when the male partner’s sperm quality is so severely damaged that his sperm shouldn’t be used for conception and in vitro fertilization (IVF) is not an option. DI can also be used if the man has certain genetic diseases that he does not want to pass on to his children and IVF with PGD is not an option. Single women or same-sex female couples who want to have a baby may also consider DI.
Requirements for Artificial Insemination
- The woman being inseminated must have open fallopian tubes and ovulate (with or without medications).
- The sperm specimen must have at least one million motile sperm / cc.
IUI vs. IVF
Intrauterine Insemination is a moderate treatment which simply places sperm in the reproductive tract. IVF makes sure the gametes (sperm and egg) are combined (making an embryo) to achieve fertilization and the embryo is replaced back in the uterus for implantation. An IUI failure does not make the patient a poorer prognosis for IVF to succeed. Your reproductive physician will counsel you on which program is best for your individual situation, so as not to lose time or build frustration in your journey to build a family. Each patient will have their own prognosis and customized management plan. Economic considerations can also influence one’s decision as some insurance covers IUI, but not IVF. It is important for patients to speak to their doctor at Chelsea Fertility NYC in order to begin a personalized treatment plan.
Artificial Insemination in New York City
As the largest city in the U.S. it’s no wonder thousands of IUI and artificial insemination procedures are performed throughout the five boroughs annually. So what makes Chelsea Fertility stand out amongst other top-rated infertility centers and practices in New York? Apart from their commitment to the highest levels of care and vast experience with reproductive medicine, Chelsea Fertility offers some of the most affordable artificial insemination treatment options to New York City residents and visitors. These lower priced options, along with their quality and expertise, play a big part in why Chelsea Fertility NYC has been seeing more and more patients for IUI and other fertility treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions about IUI:
IUI can be done with a natural cycle, with no fertility drugs necessary. Contrarily, both oral and injectable fertility drug medications can be used to enhance or control ovulation.
IUI does carry a 25% risk of ectopic pregnancy since the patient’s fallopian tubes are used, while IVF carries a 1% risk of an ectopic pregnancy. This risk is standard for any woman suffering from infertility of any sort regardless of the condition of her fallopian tubes. From this perspective, IVF is always considered protective against risk for tubal pregnancy.
This will be customized based on a patient’s prognosis, age and other factors such as whether the sperm is frozen (thawed) or fresh specimen. In general, six cycles of any given treatment without success is considered to be exhausting that option.
No, multiple births per se are not related to IUI. Multiple births are more common when fertility drugs are used. The use of abbreviation in medicine and in this field does lead to confusion.
Please keep in mind the differences between IUI and IVF. IVF has a higher risk of multiple births only if multiple embryos are transferred. IUI does not by itself have an increased risk of multiple births. Multiple births are associated with use of fertility drugs.