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If you and your partner are dealing with infertility, you're not alone. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 8 couples has difficulty becoming pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. While the exact cause is not always clear, both females and males may exhibit factors that contribute to reproductive challenges. Certain lifestyle factors like smoking, diabetes, obesity, overexposure to environmental toxins, and untreated sexually transmitted infections may increase the risk of infertility.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves manual placement of sperm--via a small flexible tube called a catheter---into a woman's uterus. The procedure is carefully performed around the time of ovulation and is often preceded by a regime of ovulation-stimulating medications. The goal of the treatment is to facilitate conception by increasing the chances of sperm reaching the egg. It's like giving the sperm a head start, although the sperm still must be able to reach and fertilize an egg on its own.
IUI is less invasive, less costly, and less time-consuming than many other infertility treatments. It also tends to cause less discomfort for the woman. With IUI, there is a small risk of infection, and success rates tend to be lower compared to other treatments, such as in-vitro fertilization.
IUI is often used to help couples dealing with low sperm count and problems with ejaculation or cervical mucus. However, the treatment is not recommended for women with a history of moderate to severe endometriosis, pelvic infections, or severe diseases of the fallopian tubes. To know if intrauterine insemination is a good fit for you, it's important to speak with your gynecologist or fertility specialist.
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