While Health Foundations is best known as a birth center, we also help couples before they get pregnant. We help couples who are just beginning to seek conception optimize their health to create the best foundation for a healthy pregnancy. We also offer this and additional services to those couples who are experiencing challenges in getting pregnant.
We have had great success with many of our fertility supporting techniques. One in particular has helped many Health Foundations women get pregnant. This procedure, offered here at Health Foundations, is called intrauterine insemination, or IUI, and is a type of artificial insemination. Intrauterine insemination is a fairly simple and safe procedure, and the risk of serious complications is low. It is also less invasive and less expensive than in-vitro fertilization and carries fewer side effect risks.
In the past, artificial insemination involved placing washed and concentrated sperm (those with good motility) inside the vagina, but in this newer procedure—which has a higher rate of success—the sperm is placed directly in the uterus. This procedure is timed with the menstrual cycle (around the time of ovulation) with the goal of having the sperm swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize a newly released egg.
An intrauterine insemination procedure itself takes only a minute or two and requires no medications or pain relievers. During this procedure, you lie on the exam table and a speculum will be placed into the vagina, as it would during a normal Pap test. A vial of the small sample of healthy sperm is inserted into the vagina, through the cervix and into the uterus using a flexible tube (catheter). The catheter is then removed followed by the speculum. You may lie back for a brief period, then you can get dressed and go about your normal activities. Some women experience light spotting for a day or two, but other than that no other side effects are common. Women then wait two weeks before taking a pregnancy test. If the procedure is not successful on the first try it may be repeated another three to six months before other therapies are recommended.
Who it may help
Intrauterine insemination is most appropriate for women/couples in the following cases:
- For women/couples using donor sperm.
- Unexplained fertility challenges, used often as a first treatment (sometimes in conjunction with ovulation inducing medications)
- Mild male factor fertility challenges, such as lower sperm concentration, lower sperm motility, or sperm size and shape abnormalities.
- Cervical factor fertility challenges—for example, overly thick cervical mucus can impede the sperm’s movement into the uterus; IUI bypasses the cervix, which can help couples conceive.
- Semen allergy
If you would like to learn more about intrauterine insemination or other fertility support offered at Health Foundations, please call to schedule an appointment at 651-895-2520.