Intrauterine insemination is a procedure designed to help patients with infertility and result in fertilization. For couples struggling to conceive, this procedure is a more affordable and less invasive option compared to other infertility treatments such as IVF. Is this method right for you?
Who Is the Ideal Candidate?
Intrauterine insemination is a good fit for couples who have unknown fertility issues or low male sperm count. Sometimes, cervical mucus is too thick, making sperm unable to pass through to the uterus. The vagina is acidic, and kills a large number of sperm before they can get through the cervix. Intrauterine insemination bypasses this barrier. Women who have scar tissue on the cervix also may have difficulty becoming pregnant, since it may block sperm movement. Since intrauterine insemination bypasses the cervix, it can be effective at overcoming these issue.
How Does it Work?
Prior to the procedure, a semen sample will be collected in a cup or condom and the sperm will be washed and separated from the seminal fluid. Using a concentrated dose of healthy, active sperm increases the chance of pregnancy.
The woman may be put on ovulation-stimulating medications and closely monitored through hormonal or ultrasound testing to find out when her eggs are mature. The doctor will time the procedure to take place during the prime fertile window.
The procedure is conducted by injecting concentrated sperm directly into the uterus. A thin catheter is placed in the vagina and threaded up through the cervix. The goal is to have sperm swim into the fallopian tubes and fertilize an egg. Altogether, the procedure should be quick — the experience is similar to undergoing a pap smear. There may be some cramping afterward.
After the Procedure
Once the process is complete, implantation should take place within six to 12 days. The next step is to watch for the signs of pregnancy. The patient may return and the clinic may examine her uterine lining through an ultrasound, looking for changes in thickness that could determine whether the procedure was a success. The women’s progesterone levels also will be tested.
Are You Considering Intrauterine Insemination?
Before starting any fertility treatments, you should focus on whole-body wellness. Optimizing your own well-being will increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Quit smoking, abstain from alcohol and lose any extra weight you’re carrying. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and exercise on a regular basis.
Contact Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center to set up a consultation and learn about all of your fertility treatment options. Intrauterine insemination could help you overcome your infertility and achieve a healthy pregnancy