Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Its Benefits

Infertility affects many in Honolulu, Hawaii and around the country, leading many to seek treatment such as intrauterine insemination, also called IUI or artificial insemination. The procedure is a common one for couples struggling with infertility and it's helped many overcome the condition in a safe and effective manner. Before undergoing treatment, though, patients should research the procedure and speak with a fertility specialist in their area to help them determine if it is right for them. Many turn to IUI before seeking other treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) because it is much cheaper than expensive IVF procedures.

Candidates for intrauterine insemination include couples for whom male infertility is an issue. Male infertility may include low concentration of sperm, weak motility, and abnormalities in shape and size. Cervical factor infertility may be a reason to turn to IUI as well, as thick cervical mucus may prevent sperm from passing through the fallopian tubes. Women who are using donor sperm may see this as a viable treatment, as well as those with a semen allergy. Finally, unexplained infertility may lead many to seek treatment with intrafallopian insemination.

IUI is the injection of a washed sperm sample into the uterus. The washing process involves the removal of dead sperm as well as any debris that may hamper the ability of the healthy sperm to fertilize the egg. After the sample is injected, the sperm may make their way into the fallopian tubes where they may fertilize the egg. Fertility medication may be administered to initiate ovulation prior to the injection of the sperm sample. Many choose to monitor their cycle and check for ovulation so that sperm is injected at the right time in coordination with their normal menstrual cycle. 

The woman will lie on the exam table and her feet will be put in stirrups. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina, and then a catheter is inserted along with a syringe at the end. The syringe contains the sperm sample, which is injected into the uterus. The procedure takes roughly 20 minutes to perform, and is done so in a doctor's office or fertility clinic. The woman will be asked to lie on her back for a short period and may then return home or resume other activities. A couple of weeks later, a pregnancy test is taken to determine if the procedure was a success.

For women under the age of the 35, the chances of success are usually around 10%. Women who are over the age of 35 may have lower chances of success. Fertility drugs may increase the chances of success, although most enjoy a success rate no higher than 20% with this procedure. It is important to discuss success rates with a Honolulu fertility doctor prior to treatment. The cost of the treatment is around $300 to $800, which is substantially less than the $15,000 often required for in vitro fertilization, which carries a higher success rate for most. It is for this reason that IUI is often the first treatment option for many who are experiencing infertility. If IUI is not success, couples or individuals may begin pursuing other, more expensive procedures that may offer a higher chance of success.

Learn more about intrauterine insemination in Honolulu, Hawaii

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