Why is Intrauterine Insemination First Choice for Many Couples?

For couples struggling with infertility in Louisville, Kentucky or in other parts of the country, figuring out which procedures or treatments to pursue can be difficult. Many are uncertain of the effects of the various fertility treatments available, and are unsure of which are right for them. Speaking with an infertility specialist is key to determining which treatment option to pursue, as the cause of the infertility will influence the decision. For many couples, intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is the first choice when trying to get pregnant.

Intrauterine insemination may be ideal for couples for whom low sperm count, weak sperm motility, or sperm abnormality is a problem, as well as those for whom cervical factor infertility is an issue as thick cervical mucus may block sperm from fertilizing the egg. For women with an allergy to semen, intrauterine insemination may be an ideal treatment because the sperm is allowed to bypass the vagina, which may turn red, burn, or even swell and break out in hives at the touch of semen. Women using donor sperm may turn to IUI, as well as couples who are experiencing unexplained causes of infertility.

In this procedure, the semen sample is collected from the male partner, or from donor sperm. The semen sample will be washed to get rid of low quality sperm and various debris that may get in the way or reduce the chances of success. The semen is analyzed to ensure healthy sperm count and motility, and it is also checked for any diseases. IUI should be performed at the right moment, so the woman will be monitored to determine ovulation. Ultrasound may be used to detect when ovulation occurs. The day after a rise in luteinizing hormone, the procedure will be performed. 

The woman will lie on a table in the doctor's office with the legs up in stirrups. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina, and then a catheter is inserted as well. The catheter goes through the cervical opening and enters the uterus. The sperm is in a syringe at the end of the catheter and is injected through the tube and into the uterus. Most of these procedures take about 20 minutes to perform, and women may be required to rest on their back for a short while before leaving the clinic.

The reason this procedure is often used before in vitro fertilization is its lower cost. Most IVF procedures range in price from $10,000 to $15,000, and sometimes more. The IUI procedure may cost about $300 to $800 when it is covered by insurance. Many plans offer coverage of this procedure. The success rate leaves a little to be desired, in that only about 10% of women under the age of 35 get pregnant with the procedure. Women over 35 may have a lower chance of success. Taking fertility medication may raise the success rate, however, so women should speak with their Louisville fertility doctor about this possibly.

Learn more about intrauterine insemination in Louisville, Kentucky.

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