Closing The Fertility Gap
Without a doubt, fertility is a challenge for many couples. Couples have trouble getting pregnant, with both men and women contributing to infertility. Assisted reproductive technologies have done a great job closing the gap. One of the first and simplest methods used is intrauterine insemination (IUI). But even IUI has a success rate from 8-22% depending on age and health. Techniques like artificial insemination and sperm washing can increase the odds.
Getting help with IUI
IUI is a fertility technique to improve the chances of pregnancy. IUI involves doctors inserting the sperm directly into the uterus. Doctors use the method if there is a male factor infertility issue like low sperm count or motility. Healthy sperm may not reach the eggs in the fallopian tubes for fertilization. Seminal fluid can also contain damaging antibodies or get damaged by cervical mucus. With intrauterine insemination, doctors can place enough sperm to fertilize the eggs.
Trust the process
Doctors complete the procedure during ovulation to increase the chances of pregnancy. The woman may get hormonal drugs to increase egg production. At the ideal time, the doctor will use a catheter to insert the sperm during a short procedure. Over the coming days, doctors and the woman will check for signs of pregnancy. Many couples will opt to go through 3 or more cycles of IVF with a success rate of up to 22%.
AI versus IUI
Intrauterine insemination falls under the scope of artificial insemination (AI). Any method of inserting semen for fertilization without intercourse is artificial insemination. Semen can be placed in the cervix or uterus and done at home or at the doctor’s office. The success rate varies, as at-home insemination works 10% of the time. This is subject to factors like age and reproductive health. Conventional methods appear easier and cost-effective. But pregnancy rates go up with clean sperm using IUI.
Cleaning sperm for the journey
Doctors can’t use semen alone for IUI. There could be harmful chemicals preventing fertilization. Also, there could be millions of dead or weak sperm. Sperm washing removes harmful elements, using only the strongest sperm for the process. Labs have improved techniques to include density gradient washing and the swim-up technique. Studies show both techniques improve the success rate of IUI. Sperm washing also provides a sperm count, as 10 million or fewer sperm decreases chances of pregnancy. With sperm washing, each cycle contains the best and highest count of sperm.
A better chance of success
IUI and sperm washing techniques improve the chances of pregnancy by having the strongest sperm available. As the sperm goes past the cervix, the rate of pregnancy rises even more. Couples should consult with a healthcare provider or fertility specialist for specific recommendations.