During sexual intercourse, sperm released by the male must travel through the female’s vagina and cervix to reach the uterus and fallopian tubes, where the female egg is located. The journey through a female’s vagina and cervix is so arduous for sperm that most never reach the egg.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), a type of artificial insemination, gives sperm — and conception — better odds. Your doctor injects sperm directly into your uterus so that more sperm can reach an egg for fertilization.
More than 83,900 of babies born in 2019 were conceived with some sort of artificial reproductive technology (ART). When it comes to ART, IUI is one of the simplest ways to enhance fertility or allow conception that would otherwise never occur.
At OC Fertility in Newport Beach, California, expert OB/GYNs Sharon Moayeri, MD, and Nidhee Sachdev, MD, perform IUI to help women and couples achieve the families of their dreams. The following are five reasons why they might suggest IUI for you.
1. You have female reproductive issues
If you’re not getting pregnant and our fertility workup reveals problems with your reproductive organs, you could benefit from IUI. Typical issues that could make IUI a good choice for you include:
- Scarring on your cervix
- Endometriosis that affects fertility
- You ovulate irregularly
- You’re older than 35
- You have an allergy to semen
With natural intercourse, only a few hundred sperm make it to an egg. By placing more sperm directly near the egg, you increase the chances that one of them will be able to penetrate and fertilize the egg.
In addition, IUI helps sperm bypass obstructions, such as scar tissue, that might otherwise prevent them from reaching an egg. By helping sperm reach the egg with as little effort as possible, IUI increases your odds of conceiving per cycle.
2. Your male partner has poor or scanty sperm
Normally, males release anywhere from 15 million to 200 million sperm in each milliliter of semen. Even so, only a few hundred normally get close enough to the female’s egg to attempt fertilization.
If your partner’s sperm count is less than 15 million per milliliter, however, even fewer sperm have a chance of reaching the egg. Their sperm may also have abnormalities, such as poor motility, further decreasing their odds.
With IUI, even men with low sperm counts can impregnate their partners. By placing the sperm near the egg, more of them have a chance of fertilizing your egg.
3. You or your partner have sexual difficulties
Even if you and your partner have a deeply satisfying intimate life, one or both of you may have sexual difficulties that complicate intercourse or make it impossible. Complications could include:
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Premature ejaculation
- Retrograde (i.e., backward) ejaculation
- Low libido
- Vaginismus (i.e., vagina contracts and blocks penetration)
- Dyspareunia (i.e., painful sex)
- Low libido
When functional or emotional difficulties prevent you and your partner from having intercourse with vaginal penetration and male ejaculation, IUI helps sperm reach the egg so that you can have a baby.
4. You have unexplained infertility
One of the more frustrating diagnoses couples can receive is “unexplained infertility.” All of the tests that both you and your partner undergo reveal that both of you are perfectly healthy and normal. So why aren’t you conceiving?
With IUI, you don’t have to waste emotional energy trying to find the answer to that question. Without IUI, your success per cycle is about 7%-10%. However, with IUI, your chances of conceiving per cycle rise to 15%-25%.
5. You want or need to use donor sperm
Depending on your situation, you may want or need to use donor sperm rather than a male partner’s sperm. Situations where donor sperm are needed include:
- You’re a single woman
- You’re part of a same-sex couple,
- Your male partner doesn’t produce sperm
- Your male partner is at risk of passing on a genetic disease
You can choose to use an anonymous donor from a sperm bank. You could also ask a friend or family member to donate for you.
No matter who donates your sperm, they must undergo a screening process. This ensures that their sperm is healthy and they don’t have genetic disorders that could affect your baby. We then inject the prepared donor sperm into your uterus after you’ve released an egg for fertilization.
Would you benefit from IUI to increase your chances of having a baby? Schedule an appointment for a fertility consultation and IUI by calling us today at 949-706-2229 or booking an appointment online.