IUI: Is it Right for Me?
When you start exploring your fertility options it can feel like you are going down a rabbit hole of information. It is easy to search through endless articles and falsely diagnose yourself and be under the impression of what fertility treatments you need, and don’t need. From freezing your eggs to IUI and IVF, the treatment options might seem endless. What happens next when you visit your doctor and they recommended IUI- what does that exactly mean for you and your fertility future.
IUI: The breakdown
An intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves washing sperm and infusing the sperm directly into the uterine cavity at the time of either natural ovulation or ovulation induced with medication. The goal of an IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and increase the chance of fertilization.
Is an IUI Right For Me
IUI is used as best course of treatment for mild-to-moderate male factor infertility, such as low sperm count or decrease sperm motility. It can also be chosen by your physician for cervical mucus insufficiency or unexplained fertility. It is not the best option for patients with a history of pelvic infections, those with blocked fallopian tubes, or those with moderate to severe endometriosis. IUI provides the sperm with an advantage by placing them in the uterine cavity, but it still requires sperm to reach and fertilize the egg. Patients often start with IUI if they are candidates as it is less invasive and a less expensive option than In Vitro Fertilization.
The success of an IUI depends on several factors, including sperm quality, ovarian reserve, the reason for infertility, among other variables. The success rate for IUI ranges from 12-15%, dependent upon whether other fertility medications are used during the IUI cycle. The risks include discomfort during the procedure, a multiple pregnancy if there is more than one follicle present, and a small risk of infection after IUI.
If you are interested in IUI, talk with your doctor to discuss your options and the chance of success based on your own individual fertility parameters.