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Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – Infertility Treatments – Birmingham, AL

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Overview

Best performed at a specific time during a woman's ovulation, intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves an injection of healthy, prepared sperm into a uterus by an experienced reproductive endocrinologist. In Birmingham, AL, Dr. Cecil A. Long treats individuals (both men and women) with a range of infertility issues. Dr. Long performs this low health-risk procedure for women with specific infertility issues, men diagnosed with poor sperm quantity and/or motility, and couples using donor sperm to become pregnant. If you are experiencing infertility or have been referred by another doctor, a private consultation at the America Institute of Reproductive Medicine – Alabama is an appropriate step to take in your fertility journey. We look forward to hearing from you.

Considering IUI?

IUI should be considered by couples or individuals who have one or more of the following conditions:

Unexplained infertility
Due to the ease and relatively lower cost of the procedure, intrauterine insemination is frequently recommended for couples experiencing unexplained infertility, which is the default diagnosis when fertility tests do not identify a specific cause. IUI can be more successful when combined with ovulation-stimulating medication or hormones.

Male factor infertility
IUI is used when a male’s sperm is of poor quality (low sperm quality/concentration, poor movement), when he has difficulty maintaining an erection for orgasm, or when he does not ejaculate sperm properly. After obtaining sperm from the male, fertility lab technicians wash and concentrate the sperm sample, preparing and isolating the highest-quality sperm for insemination.

Cervical obstruction
Cervical scarring or thick cervical mucus can make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. By releasing the sperm inside the uterus in IUI, the fertility specialist is able to bypass the cervix, increasing the chances of successful fertilization.

Donor insemination
Intrauterine insemination is often used for the insemination of a woman who requires donor sperm.

Dr. Long's success rates for IUI range from 5% – 20% per attempt in women under 30 years of age, and can be enhanced with medications or hormones.

About Sperm Donation

Men may donate their sperm to a sperm bank, also known as a cryobank, for use by individuals or couples who seek to become pregnant. Patients who use donor sperm may opt to use an anonymous sperm donor or a known donor — someone whose identity they know.

Donor sperm is used by couples whose male partner has a very low sperm count, blocked sperm ducts, or problems with sperm production due to cancer treatment or trauma. A single woman may also use a sperm donor to achieve pregnancy without a male partner.

Donors must be healthy, non-smoking men between the ages of 18 – 40 years, which is considered the optimal age range for healthy sperm. Sperm banks require extensive medical screening of potential donors.

A detailed personal and sexual history are required, as are physical examinations and tests for communicable diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, and sexually transmitted diseases. Donated sperm is then frozen and quarantined for 6 months so that the potential donor may be re-tested for HIV and other diseases.

Sperm donors must provide a profile of their educational background, interests, skills, and other personal details. This can help recipients select a sperm donor for their family whose personal details may be reflected in his genetic traits passed on to their child. Some cryobanks may include photos or other personal information, depending on the individual circumstances of the donor. Some donors choose to remain anonymous, while others may agree to be contacted by any child conceived via their sperm when the child reaches legal age. These issues should be addressed before the parties agree on the donation.

IUI Technique

IUI is an in-office procedure that can be performed in just a few minutes. Sperm for the procedure is provided by the male via manually or surgically at our medical office, or collected in a specially designed condom used in normal sexual intercourse. IUI is timed to coincide with the woman’s ovulation.

An IUI procedure places the man’s sperm directly into the woman’s uterus, bypassing the cervix that restricts the number of sperm entering the uterus.

Sperm for the IUI procedure is washed to concentrate the sperm and remove the seminal fluid, a process that can take up to 2 hours. The prepared sperm is then inserted into the uterus via a thin catheter tube attached to a syringe. This method of bypassing the cervix and placing the sperm closer to the fallopian tubes increases the likelihood that more sperm will arrive at the egg.

What to Expect

The success of an IUI procedure depends upon many factors, including age, sperm quality, and the presence of other fertility conditions. It is common for the patient to undergo between 3 – 6 separate IUI procedures before pregnancy occurs. When combined with medication or hormones, the chances of pregnancy are generally between 5% – 20%.

IUI may be less successful in women over 35 years; some patients will choose to forego this procedure and move directly to in vitro fertilization (IVF) due to its higher success rate. For women over 40 years of age, IVF is usually recommended instead of IUI.

IUI Risks & Benefits

Risks
The risks associated with the intrauterine insemination procedure are relatively small and include some minor abdominal cramping and light spotting. The risk of infection from IUI is very low.

When IUI is performed together with fertility medications or hormones, the patient’s risk of multiples in pregnancy increases. In a pregnancy of twins or multiples, there are higher risks of harm to the mother, premature birth, and physical or developmental delays.

Benefits
IUI is an in-office procedure that is less costly than an in vitro fertilization procedure. IUI has a higher success rate than vaginal or cervical insemination.

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Plan Your Procedure

Recovery Time  
None
Average Procedure Time  
15 Minutes
Post-op Follow-up  
2 Weeks
Procedure Recovery Location  
Home
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Learn More About IUI

If you would like to learn more about our fertility treatments at our office, please call and schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting you to discuss how IUI or other fertility treatments may help you achieve pregnancy.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.