Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): How Artificial Insemination May Help

Also known as artificial insemination, intrauterine insemination (IUI) has helped couples and individuals in the Miami, Florida area as well as in other parts of the nation successfully conceive. Infertility may be described as an inability to get pregnant after a year of unprotected sex, or six months if over the age of 35, and dealing with it may be extremely stressful and frustrating. Fortunately, though IUI and other forms of fertility treatment and fertility procedures, many couples and individuals have overcome infertility and have successfully reached their goals.

This is a fertility treatment that involves the injection of prepared or 'washed' sperm directly into the woman's uterus the day after an egg, or eggs, is released by one of the ovaries. The idea is that the sperm will swim into the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg, which would hopefully result in a pregnancy. Women may take fertility medications to stimulate ovulation before the procedure. Some may choose instead to have the procedure coordinated with their normal cycle. Women should consult a fertility specialist in the Miami area for more information and details about each method.

There may be several couples or individuals who meet the candidacy guidelines for IUI. These include those with mild male factor infertility, which is to say a low concentration of sperm, weak motility or abnormalities in the sperm's shape or size. Also candidates include those with cervical factor infertility; this means that the cervical mucus that is produced around the time of ovulation and normally allows the sperm to travel to the fallopian tubes is too thick so the sperm cannot pass. Those with unexplained causes of infertility, as well as women using donor sperm may also be candidates for IUI. Finally, women who are allergic to proteins that are found in their partner's semen may be candidates for IUI. In cases of semen allergy, ejaculation into the vagina may cause redness, burning and swelling, hives or difficulty breathing in some cases. Semen proteins may be removed before semen is inserted with IUI.

To perform this procedure, the specialists will first need to collect a semen sample. This may be produced by the male partner in the doctor's office before the procedure is performed. If donor sperm is being used, a vial containing the semen will be thawed and prepared before the procedure. The sample is 'washed' to clear low quality sperm and other debris that may inhibit the sample's effectiveness. The semen is analyzed for sperm count, motility and diseases. The woman will be monitored for ovulation to make sure the procedure is performed at the correct time. Ultrasound may be used to detect ovulation, while some choose to also monitor their own ovulation using a home kit.

The woman will lie on the exam table with her legs in stirrups. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina as well as a catheter, which goes through the cervical opening and into the uterus. The sperm sample attached to a syringe at the end of the catheter is pushed through the tube into the uterus. The procedure takes about 20 minutes to perform in the doctor's office. The woman lies on her back for a little bit following the procedure before she is able to return to her daily routine.

About two weeks later, a pregnancy test is taken or a blood test is given at a doctor's office to see if the procedure was a success. If the procedure is unsuccessful, the couple or individual may try again using IUI or look at other options of treatment. Patients should consult a Miami specialist for further information.

Learn more about intrauterine insemination in Miami, Florida.

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