Can IUI Help With Fertility Woes?
Infertility was once a nearly insurmountable challenge for women. Now, there are several treatment options available. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one such treatment, especially for women with ovulation problems. The procedure involves a fertility specialist inserting a washed sperm sample into the cervical area using a catheter. The sample, combined with the available egg during ovulation, may lead to pregnancy. IUI often requires ovulation induction for patients to receive the most benefits.
Adding fertility drugs
Ovulation induction means using fertility drugs to increase the number of available eggs. Fertility clinics primarily use this type of medication for in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. However, doctors can also use ovulation induction to help patients get pregnant with IUI. Most normal ovulation cycles produce a single egg. Ovulation induction creates multiple mature eggs, increasing the chances of pregnancy. This is particularly useful for women who have irregular cycles or unexplained infertility.
If a patient desires ovulation induction, oral ovulatory stimulation medications can be used. These drugs block estrogen receptors, convincing the body to produce more hormones needed for egg production. However, oral medication is often enough to improve the chances of IUI. If this approach fails, injectable forms of aromatase inhibitors or gonadotropin hormones may be necessary. During treatment, the medical team will monitor the growth of the follicles using ultrasounds and bloodwork. Once the desired size is reached, a hormone injection is given to trigger ovulation. This is a time-sensitive process, and the patient must be available for IUI when the time comes.
Hyperstimulation and multiples
Like any medical treatment, ovulation induction comes with possible risks. Some women will experience mild to moderate side effects like bloating, pelvic pain, or weight gain. Inconsistent medication use can lead to poor results, extending treatment time and increasing side effects. There is also a risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), an unwanted response to hormone medication. Finally, the creation of multiple eggs increases the risk of multiple babies. Twins and triples are at higher risk of complications like preterm birth. The good news is that more egg production means IUI may succeed with fewer cycles, saving the patient time and money on more expensive treatments.
Increase your pregnancy success
Almost 20% of women struggle with infertility, with many experiencing irregular cycles. Ovulation induction produces more eggs and readies the body for IUI. This process can improve the success rate of each cycle, increasing pregnancy rates. A healthcare provider can help determine if fertility medication use during IUI is appropriate.