Independently Pursuing Fertility Treatment

Single women struggle with infertility just as often as married women. Pursuing intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor sperm can help achieve pregnancy. Women want to know which option is most effective when undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) to have a baby.


Diagnosing infertility

There are many different causes of infertility. The older a woman is, the lower the chances of pregnancy. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects about 7-10% of women of childbearing age and is the most common cause of infertility. Endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), previous abdominal or pelvic surgery, fibroids, and polyps can also pose a risk. Sometimes, a woman is said to have unexplained fertility when no exact cause can be identified.

Selecting donor sperm

When a single woman wants to start a family, donor sperm is a great option. At a sperm bank, anonymous men from around the country can submit sperm samples and basic information about appearance and health. The woman can then choose a desired donor for use. Once a sperm sample is obtained, the specimen must be combined with a woman’s egg for pregnancy to occur. This is where IUI and IVF come into play.

The IUI route

If a woman chooses IUI, the sperm sample will be washed and then injected into the patient’s uterus. In a modified version called intracervical insemination, the semen is placed in the cervix. This approach can mimic natural pregnancy but involves no actual penetration. The doctor may recommend fertility medication for women looking to boost the chance of conception. Certain medications can help control the cycle so the sperm sample is inserted at the optimal time, while others can help induce ovulation for the woman.

Opting for IVF

Women who choose in vitro fertilization are signing up for a more expensive and involved process but are pursuing the most successful procedure. With IVF, the patient will be given medication to stimulate the ovaries and will undergo an egg retrieval procedure. The eggs will then be combined with the donor sperm in a lab and allowed to mature for a few days. If growth is successful, the embryos can be transferred back into the woman’s uterus.

Weighing ART options

Single women who are younger, have unexplained infertility, or mild endometriosis can benefit most from the IUI procedure. Patients wanting to save money can also start with less expensive IUI initially. Blocked fallopian tubes, PCOS, irregular ovulation cycles, and older age are reasons to consider IVF to get pregnant. Patients who have previously failed 1 or more IUI cycles may also want to consider moving on to IVF with donor sperm.

Pathway to baby

With donor sperm, pregnancy can be achieved using assisted reproductive technology. Whether a patient chooses IUI or IVF, parenthood while single is possible. Talking with a fertility doctor can help patients weigh all the possible options.

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