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Can Intrauterine Insemination Improve My Chances of Getting Pregnant?

Can Intrauterine Insemination Improve My Chances of Getting Pregnant?

Infertility is more common than you might think. In the U.S., 1 in 5 heterosexual women 15-49 with no prior births can’t get pregnant after a year of trying, the medical definition of infertility. About 1 in 4 has impaired fecundity, difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

Even women who’ve previously given birth may struggle. Some 6% of married women ages 15-49 can’t get pregnant after a year of trying, and 14% have impaired fecundity.

At the OB/GYN office of Dr. Hany H Ahmed in Houston, Texas, Dr. Ahmed and his team take an evidence-based approach to infertility and offer innovative treatments for women struggling to get pregnant.

One option is intrauterine insemination (IUI). Here’s what the practice would like you to know about the procedure and its effectiveness.

What causes infertility?

Infertility may be due to problems with the female reproductive system, the male reproductive system, or both. Here, we address the female system.

Factors that can lead to infertility include:

Of all the causes, PCOS is by far the most common reason.

What’s IUI and how does it work?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination, where Dr. Ahmed places sperm directly in your uterus with the hope that they swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize a waiting egg. The procedure can be coordinated with your normal cycle or with fertility medications.

IUI requires careful coordination before the actual procedure:

Prepare the semen sample

Your partner can provide a semen sample at the office, or we can thaw and prepare a vial of frozen donor sperm. 

Since nonsperm elements in semen may cause reactions in the woman's body that impede fertilization, Dr. Ahmed washes the semen to separate the highly active, normal sperm from lower-quality sperm and other elements.

The chance of achieving pregnancy increases when he uses a small, highly concentrated sample of healthy sperm.

Monitor for ovulation

The timing of IUI is crucial, so monitoring for signs of impending ovulation is also critical. One monitoring option is using an at-home urine ovulation predictor kit that detects when your body produces a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH).

A second option is an imaging method (transvaginal ultrasound) that lets Dr. Ahmed visualize your ovaries and egg growth.

A third option is an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or medications that make you ovulate one or more eggs at the right time.

Determine optimal timing

Most IUIs are performed a day or two after ovulation. Dr. Ahmed draws up a plan that details the timing of your procedure and what to expect.

The IUI procedure

The IUI visit takes 15-20 minutes and is usually done right here in the office. The procedure itself takes only a minute or two.

Dr. Ahmed inserts a speculum into the vagina, similar to what you experience during a Pap test. He attaches a vial that contains a sample of healthy sperm to the end of a long, thin catheter and inserts the catheter into the vagina, through the cervical opening, and into the uterus. 

Once the sperm have been delivered, he removes the catheter and the speculum. You lie on your back for a short period, after which you’re free to go.

It’s best to wait about two weeks before taking a pregnancy test to avoid false positives and false negatives. If you don’t get pregnant, Dr. Ahmed may recommend repeating the procedure. It’s often used for 3-6 months to maximize the chances of pregnancy.

Do you want to get pregnant but are struggling to conceive? IUI may improve your chances. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahmed, call our office or book online today.

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