If you suffer from infertility, you may be confused by the plethora of treatment options available today. While the good news is that a high percentage of couples dealing with infertility issues are successfully helped and go on to have a baby, the amount of information that needs to be sifted through in order to determine the course of action most appropriate for you can be overwhelming.
Among many factors, the right procedure depends upon whether the infertility problem stems from the woman's side, from the man's side, from a combination of both sides, or whether there is no apparent explanation for infertility. And with infertility treatment options ranging from non-injection and injection drugs to various procedures and surgery and more complicated assisted reproductive technologies, how does one determine who is the best candidate for which procedure?
This article will explore who makes a good candidate for the IUI procedure.
When is Intrauterine Insemination Effective?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is the procedure wherein sperm from a woman's partner or from a sperm donor are placed directly into the uterus via a catheter in order to facilitate fertilization.
Since the IUI procedure manipulates the placement of sperm, IUI may be very effective in cases of male factor infertility. In addition, since the IUI procedure accesses the uterus directly, it may be a good choice for women who suffer from cervical mucus problems. IUI treatments that are carried out in conjunction with hCG injections, the purpose of which is to trigger ovulation, can be beneficial for women who experience ovulation problems. And finally, IUI that is augmented with fertility drugs could be the answer for cases of unexplained infertility.
Based on these nuances of the IUI procedure, the following types of cases might constitute excellent candidates for IUI:
- Problems with ovulation
- Mild male infertility problems such as low sperm count or poor sperm mobility
- Problems with premature ejaculation or impotence
- Unexplained infertility
- Single women who wish to have a baby using a sperm donor
- Where infertility drugs alone have not been successful
Other IUI Requirements
A female IUI candidate must have a healthy pelvis, as well as fallopian tubes that are open and healthy. To assess these factors, women are given a tubal patency test known as laparoscopy and dye testing. Performed under a general anesthetic, the laparoscopy allows a direct view of the pelvis by inserting a telescope into the abdomen. If the fallopian tubes are healthy, the dye will pass through the tubes freely - an indication that an egg would be able to follow suit as easily. In cases where there is only one open fallopian tube, IUI can be conducted if there is evidence that ovulation will occur from the ovary that is on the same side of the open tube.
For IUI to succeed there must also be good sperm quality and no major problem with sperm count.
Finally, the ideal IUI candidates might be couples who cannot afford the more expensive alternatives such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). While IUI is not as effective as IVF per cycle, the lower IUI costs may enable a couple to conduct more insemination attempts.