Deciding on the most appropriate infertility treatment is a highly personal choice, one that needs the expertise of reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist Fangyin Meng, MD. Couples who are having trouble conceiving may wonder what type of fertility treatment would be best for their situation.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) are two common fertility procedures used to help couples start or expand their family. IUI isn’t appropriate for every situation, so let’s explore the procedure and when IUI is the appropriate fertility treatment to consider.
Intrauterine insemination overview
IUI is a form of artificial insemination. The procedure involves medication that triggers egg maturation and ovulation. Then we closely monitor your cycle using ultrasound, blood tests, and possibly at-home ovulation kits. Once you ovulate, we can implant sperm using a donor sperm of a sperm sample from your partner.
The sperm go through a gentle purification process to remove semen and biochemicals that could irritate your uterus.
During this process, lower-quality sperm are removed. That is sperm that has low motility or other issues. The healthy sperm are concentrated and placed inside the uterus.
The healthy sperm travel up the fallopian tube to fertilize an egg. Compared to traveling through the cervix, IUI significantly improves the chance of egg fertilization.
Who should consider IUI?
IUI is a simple and straightforward process that usually requires a single session. It’s a potential option for young couples with unexplained infertility, which means we’re unable to determine the underlying cause of your infertility.
While that’s often frustrating, unexplained infertility is a common diagnosis that affects 10-20% of couples struggling to conceive.
You can also consider IUI when your infertility is the result of:
- Cervical mucus problems
- Cervical scar tissue
- Low sperm count
- Decreased sperm motility
- Ejaculation problems
IUI isn’t appropriate in certain situations. For instance, if your fallopian tubes are blocked, IUI wouldn’t be an appropriate option. Additionally, IUI is contraindicated if you have too few eggs or poor quality eggs.
Women with a history of pelvic infections, moderate to severe endometriosis, or a hormonal balance will need to have their underlying condition treated prior to IUI consideration.
In cases where the male partner has a low sperm count, low-quality sperm, or a condition that affects sperm, IUI is an option for insemination of donor sperm. IUI with donor sperm is also a good option for single women and lesbian couples who want to have a baby.
IVF is appropriate for most couples dealing with infertility in the following situations:
- Male infertility
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Unsuccessful IUI
IVF is more complex than IUI where the egg is fertilized outside of the uterus and the fertilized embryo is implanted directly in the uterus. Following a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Meng recommends the most appropriate fertility treatment.
If you’re struggling to get pregnant or you’d like to find out if IUI is appropriate for you, call our Newport Beach office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Meng, or use our online booking feature to request an appointment.