There are several ways to treat infertility; intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one. This procedure can be done in very little time at your doctor’s office. Basically, the doctor takes sperm that is prepared and places them directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation.
Is it always the woman who has the infertility problem?
No, it’s not always the woman who has the reproductive problem – although several causes does relate primarily to the female involved. The Mayo Clinic lists factors such as:
Mild male factor infertility – when your partner shows a below-average sperm concentration, weak movement of sperm or abnormalities in sperm size and shape.
Cervical factor infertility – when the fluid at the cervix is too thick, blocking the sperm’s path.
Semen allergy – this is a rare condition where women have an allergy to the proteins to their partner’s semen. The allergy causes redness, burning and swelling in the vagina. Usually a condom gives protection, but when trying to get pregnant, this causes a problem.
Unexplained infertility – IUI is used when doctors cannot diagnose what the true cause is.
Donor sperm – when donor sperm is used, IUI is a procedure chosen.
In all the cases listed above, IUI is a way to overcome these obstacles. And yes, there are a small amount of risks like infection (in less than one percent of women) or a chance of multiple pregnancies. The latter is especially so if the patient is taking ovulation-inducing medicines simultaneously at the time of the IUI.
What actually is the procedure like?
This procedure can be performed at your physician’s office. Once on the examination table, qualified medical personnel will insert a speculum and then a catheter (long, flexible tube) into the vagina. There will be a vial of sperm connected at the end of the catheter. Then the sperm will be pushed out of the vial into your vagina.
You will be asked to lie on your back for a while. Afterwards, you can go on about your day as normal. The most side effects that some experience is light spotting after a couple of days. Your doctor may require you to return to take a blood pregnancy test.