Intrauterine insemination (IUI), available at our San Antonio practice, is one of the oldest methods used to address infertility. IUI describes artificial insemination by placing healthy, concentrated sperm directly into the uterus, close to the unfertilized egg. Reducing the distance that sperm must travel can significantly increase your chances of becoming pregnant. To learn about the benefits of IUI and other infertility treatments, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our fertility specialists.
How IUI Works
Traditional artificial insemination techniques involved introducing sperm into the vagina, which was simpler than, but not nearly as effective as, IUI. IUI is a conservative treatment option, and can be effective even if the mother is not taking medications to increase her egg production. Nevertheless, Drs. Martin, Neal, and Retzloff may recommend taking hormone medications to improve the effectiveness of your IUI procedure. During the procedure, we will wash the semen sample at our on-site andrology and embryology laboratory, identifying and separating the healthy, viable sperm. Next, the concentrated semen will be injected directly into your uterus using a catheter, placing a high number of sperm within close proximity of your unfertilized eggs. The entire process takes little time, involves a minimal amount of discomfort, and significantly increases the possibility of conception.
Candidates and Applications
IUI is typically recommended for couples who have tried to conceive for a year (under the age of 35) or for 6 months (age 35 or older), or women who wish to become pregnant without a male partner. The most common infertility factors that make IUI an appropriate choice include:
- Unexplained infertility: Because of its non-invasive nature and high success rate, IUI is usually the first recommended treatment to address unexplained infertility, along with medications to induce ovulation.
- Mild male infertility (subfertility): The first step in infertility treatment involves a semen analysis to test the male partner’s reproductive potency. If the analysis suggests a problem with the his semen, then IUI can boost the effectiveness of the sperm. Low sperm count, poor movement (motility), or high concentrations of irregularly shaped sperm, can often be overcome using IUI.
- Cervical factor infertility: The cervix is the opening between the vagina and uterus. During ovulation, the cervix produces mucus that is meant to facilitate sperm traveling on their way to the uterus. However, sometimes this mucus may be too thick, and can impede sperms’ progress. Since an IUI places sperm directly into the uterus, it bypasses thick mucus that can contribute to cervical factor infertility.
IUI is also necessary to impregnate women who require donor sperm. The process places the donor sperm, which is frozen until it is thawed out before insemination, in an optimal position to fertilize your eggs during ovulation. IUI is the standard procedure for placing donor sperm, and may be combined with medications to increase your production of fertile eggs.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are ready to receive help with your infertility issues, but are unsure where to start, visit our experts to learn more about your treatment options. With more than 25 years of experience, our doctors offer a unique combination of the latest technology and proven expertise to help hopeful parents conceive. To learn more, schedule a consultation by contacting the Fertility Center of San Antonio today.