No doubt if you are in the midst of conceiving (or even thinking about trying to conceive) you understand that there are many options for those who need help getting pregnant.
Intrauterine Conception, In Vitro fertilization, Home conception, Supplements, Diets, Alternative therapies…. the number of options might seem daunting at first glance, particularly if you don’t know where to start.
This is why we are embarking on a series of posts that will cover the various forms of assisted reproductive treatments.
Our hope is to more fully explain the ins and outs of these options so that you and your partner can begin the process of making decisions that are right for you.
One such option is Intrauterine Insemination, also referred to as IUI. Of the various fertility treatment options, this particular one is less invasive and less expensive than In Vitro Fertilization. To learn more about Intrauterine Insemination, read on!
Who Might Need Intrauterine Insemination?
Couples who have unexplained fertility issues, or who have difficulty having sex for various reasons. Intrauterine Insemination is also a good option if the male partner has lower quality semen, but enough sperm to make the treatment worthwhile.
What Does the Treatment Involve?
Depending on a couple’s situation, the woman may or may not be a candidate for fertility drugs. In some instances, the procedure can be performed based on her natural ovulation cycle, but in many cases she will need to receive pills or injections to help stimulate ovulation.
If you do wind up receiving drugs to aid in ovulation, your cycle will be carefully monitored because the Intrauterine Insemination will need to take place around the actual time of ovulation. Once the spike in luteinizing hormone has occurred, you and her partner will need to visit the fertility clinic to receive the treatment within 24-36 hours.
Once in the clinic, the process is very simple. Your partner will need to produce a semen sample on-site, which will then be washed to rid the specimen of any poor-quality sperm. Typically, the medical professionals there will perform an ultrasound to ensure that your egg is mature and ready for fertilization, at which point you will need to lie on the examination table exactly as you would for an annual exam. The act of inserting your partner’s semen is relatively painless. A catheter (or tube) will be inserted through the vaginal canal and cervix, and release the sample directly into your uterus near a fallopian tube. It is typically over within just a few minutes. After that, couples will simply need to play a brief waiting game, as there is a waiting period of at least two weeks before results of a treatment come in. “Brief” is a relative term here, we know – those two weeks can feel much longer as you wait for good news!
What Are the Average Costs?
According to RESOLVE (an organization that performed heavy research on fertility clinics across the country), the average price of an Intrauterine Insemination cycle is around $865, but the median price is $350. What they found during their research is that costs of these fertility treatment options varied from $275 to $2,457 – which is quite the range! They also discovered that some clinics included the price of medications, sonograms, blood work, etc., while others did not.
So if you and your partner are experiencing fertility issues and are looking into the Intrauterine Insemination option, make sure when speaking to a clinic that you ask pricing on everything the procedure will entail, just so you are well-informed to make an accurate decision.
What Are the Success Rates for IUI?
Success rates are very much dependent on several factors. They depend on what the couple’s fertility issues were in the first place, of course, as well as the woman’s age and whether she uses fertility drugs. According to the American Association for Reproductive Medicine though, couples who receive Intrauterine Insemination treatments once a month can see a success rate as high as 20%.
How to know is an Intrauterine Insemination is right for you? Think about your goal in receiving fertility treatment. The whole goal of the Intrauterine Insemination specifically is to help couples who need help getting pregnant have a headstart. By getting the sperm closer to the fallopian tubes, it gives them a better chance at fertilizing the woman’s egg. Whether this treatment is right for you is ultimately up to you and your partner, though. In the meantime though, stay tuned for more information on alternative assisted reproduction options in this series!