Infertility Drugs and Artificial/Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Although in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and other advanced procedures get a lot of attention, the majority of fertility patients will never need these complex treatments. At our south Florida clinic, infertility drugs and artificial insemination (usually through intrauterine insemination, or IUI) still allow most infertile women to become pregnant without the cost, time commitment, and physical impact associated with advanced reproductive technologies.
If the cause of infertility is a lack of regular ovulation despite an adequate ovarian reserve, infertility drugs can be used to stimulate the ovaries. This simple fertility treatment is usually the first option attempted because it is non-invasive, comparatively low-cost, and highly effective in the majority of cases.
Although there are several types of infertility drugs that may be used as part of in vitro fertilization or other advanced treatment, ovulation induction typically involves the administration of clomiphene citrate, commonly known as Clomid®. This medication mimics the effects of estrogen on the body. When estrogen is released into the bloodstream, it triggers the production of follicle stimulation hormone (FSH), which stimulates the ovaries to begin the egg-ripening process.
While the infertility drugs are being administered, the patient is closely monitored to track the progression of the ovulation process. Once the egg is released, intercourse or artificial insemination must take place within 24 to 48 hours to achieve fertilization.
Because clomiphene citrate causes the body to make more of its own FSH, rather than stimulating the ovaries directly, it is much gentler on the body than other types of infertility drugs and side effects are minimal.
Artificial insemination is a process that involves collecting semen, washing it, and placing it directly into a woman's reproductive tract. Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is the most common method of artificial insemination currently in practice.
Artificial insemination can be performed with donor sperm if there is no male partner available or if the male partner does not produce viable sperm. It can also be performed with sperm that are collected from the male partner and are properly prepared. Conditions for which this may be a treatment option include retrograde ejaculation, mild or moderately low sperm count, and unexplained infertility. Artificial insemination may also be combined with the use of infertility drugs to increase the chances of conception.
Traditional methods of artificial insemination involved the placement of sperm into the vagina, near the cervix. This can be effective, but less so than intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which sperm is placed directly into the uterine cavity. By bypassing the cervix, we are able to overcome such problems as hostile cervical mucus and low sperm motility.
The intrauterine insemination procedure is simple. First, a thin catheter is passed through the cervical opening into the uterus. Then the prepared sperm are injected through the catheter into the uterine cavity. The catheter is removed and the IUI procedure is complete. There is very little discomfort and patients can return to their normal activities immediately.
Contact Our Florida Practice
Please contact our south Florida practice for more information about artificial or intrauterine insemination (IUI) and infertility drugs. These simple treatments can help many patients overcome their fertility problems.