IUI, also known as intrauterine insemination is a popular and effective fertility treatment for millions of women around the world. While a variety of factors need to be considered before a woman undergoes artificial insemination techniques, including age and reason for infertility (if it can be determined), intrauterine insemination is an ideal solution for women who can still ovulate but may be dealing with male factor infertility, early menopause, or tubal blockage or damage.
Intrauterine Insemination Procedure
Women seeking artificial insemination will often be given a medication (such as clomiphene citrate, also known as Clomid, as well as treatment with Menopur, Gonal-F or Follistim), that helps stimulate the development of multiple eggs prior to the insemination procedure. Artificial insemination coincides with the release of eggs, also known as ovulation, and is timed carefully. A semen specimen provided by a male partner is "washed" in a laboratory setting, and enables laboratory technicians to separate and concentrate a small yet potent volume of semen for the insemination procedure.
A special tool called a speculum is inserted into the woman's vagina and the cervix is cleaned. The intrauterine insemination or IUI procedure will place semen in the uterine cavity through a flexible catheter. Women experience very little discomfort and no pain during the procedure.
In most cases, the success of such a procedure will also be determined by the woman's age, the cause and duration of the infertility, and the number as well as quality of sperm used. IUI procedures are generally recommended for women under 35 years of age, although intrauterine insemination has been successfully performed in women up to 40 years of age and beyond.
In most cases, it may take up to 4 to 5 attempts before an intra uterine insemination process results in a pregnancy. Intrauterine insemination procedures are typically performed for women as a first step toward conception, but may be followed when necessary by in vitro fertilization techniques if desired.
Who Benefits from Intrauterine Insemination Procedures?
Any woman or couple unable to conceive a child after two years of trying is an excellent candidate for the minimally invasive intrauterine insemination procedure. Couples dealing with fallopian tube blockages, low sperm counts, low quality sperm counts or other medical conditions that prevent conception will benefit from an attempt to artificially inseminate male sperm into the uterus.
How Much Does Intrauterine Insemination Cost?
In the United States, the intrauterine insemination process involves a variety of costs. For example, sperm washing and the initial catheter injection procedure may cost between $300 and $800 per attempt. However, medication costs, blood work, and ultrasounds may increase costs substantially. In most cases, the average cost of intrauterine insemination, including medications, sperm washing, and lab work may range between $5,000 and $6,000. Average cost of a single IUI procedure is around $600, with at least 2 to 4 attempts generally required for success.
Women or couples seeking treatment and medical destinations such as Turkey may save hundreds of dollars on the procedure, while travelers to Latin American destinations such as Mexico and Argentina may save up to 70% of treatment and drug costs. Such savings are not due to lack of quality, technology, or training, but reflect lower medical malpractice insurance premiums, different healthcare systems and management practices in foreign countries.
Who Performs Intrauterine Insemination Procedures?
Obstetricians and gynecologists are trained to implement the initial treatments of infertility using Clomid. Such a physician or fertility specialist should be board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Couples should find specialists who are a member of endocrinologist organizations or technologies. As such, they have completed medical school programs, followed by four years of residency training in obstetrics and gynecology, and then, two to three years of training in fertility within an approved program that results in board certification.
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