IUI – with partner or donor sperm
Intrauterine insemination is a common treatment where sperm (partner or donor) is placed directly into the woman’s uterus during ovulation. This “head start” increases the odds that more sperm reaches the fallopian tubes then would have through sex. The sperm will still have to reach the egg and fertilize it on its own.
Not all patients need high-tech procedures such as IVF. At Overlake Reproductive Health, we have hundreds of successful pregnancies from IUI treatment alone. It’s easier, cheaper and maybe all the treatment that you need. When medically appropriate, we recommend patients try a few rounds of IUI before moving to IVF.
The IUI procedure
The artificial insemination process involves washing and processing the sperm sample. This processing results in a much cleaner and more concentrated sample with most of the non-motile sperm and other fluids removed. Once the sperm is ready we can inject it into the woman’s uterus in a simple 5-minute office procedure. We perform a speculum exam just like a Pap smear visit, use a fine catheter to inject the sperm into the inside of the uterus, then remove the speculum and let you lay down for 10-15 minutes while the sperm are moving to the fallopian tubes. For most women, the procedure is painless or accompanied by no more than mild cramping.
IUI increases the number of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes
IUIs can be done naturally, or with additional fertility medications. The physicians will discuss the pros and cons of each approach and give their recommendations. Most treatments are performed with the help of medications such as Clomid or letrozole (Femara), and/or injectable gonadotropins. Natural cycles may be appropriate for some women with regular periods.
Partner sperm or donor sperm?
We can perform artificial insemination with partner sperm (fresh or frozen) or frozen donor sperm. Here are some of the reasons to choose each option:
Fresh partner sperm
- Mild to moderate sperm problems (male factor infertility)
- Cervical factors such as previous LEEP procedure
- Drugs affecting cervical mucus production, including Clomid
Frozen partner sperm
- Sperm frozen prior to cancer treatment or other toxic medications (such as immunosuppressants)
- Male partners who travel frequently, or live or work out-of-town
- Severe sperm problems (male factor infertility)
- Single women
- Same-sex couples
More information about using a sperm donor.
What are the risks of IUIs treatment?
If you are taking fertility medications during your IUI cycle then there is an increased chance of multiples. There is also a small risk of infection. Your physician will discuss these risk in detail with you before treatment starts.
How successful is IUI treatment?
Success depends on many factors and will vary depending on the patient. Success rates for IUI can reach as high as 20% for some women. For this reason, we typically recommend planning on going through several rounds of treatment. Your physician will be better able to discuss your potential success rates with IUI.
Why choose IUI treatment at Overlake Reproductive Health?
First, we will measure your sperm numbers and quality accurately before you start treatment, and with every artificial insemination attempt. This allows us to identify couples where the sperm count is not ideal for IUI treatments.
Second, we are the first clinic in the US, and the only clinic in the Pacific Northwest, to use RFID tags to track patient samples. The sperm sample is tracked from the first collection container, through the andrology lab where the sperm sample is prepared, to the clinic where we perform the insemination. Finally, the ID of the sample is checked by the patient before it is used. This system was specifically designed for the fertility laboratory and we believe should be adopted industry-wide.
Electronic Security Tag reader – so you know it’s your sperm sample
Of course we still write your names on all of the containers, but this is an extra layer of security that we have provided for all our IUI patients since 2007.
Third, we offer unique financial options, including discounted package prices or credit towards IVF:
We are pleased to be the first clinic in the Pacific Northwest to make IUI treatment more accessible, with our two new programs. The first is the Peace of Mind multi-cycle IUI discount program where you can prepay for three cycles of artificial insemination at a substantial discount. The second program, for couples who want to try to get pregnant with IUI before moving on to IVF if needed, gives you a credit towards IVF if the IUI treatment doesn’t result in a pregnancy.