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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 15 Intrauterine Insemination

By David Kreiner MD

June 3rd, 2013 at 8:52 pm


Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Fifteen: Intrauterine Insemination. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments and Dr. Kreiner will respond.  You can access the podcast here:

 Intrauterine Insemination

Intrauterine Insemination, or IUI, involves preparing the sperm usually by a washing procedure removing prostaglandins and debris that would otherwise cause severe cramping when the sperm is introduced into the uterine cavity.  Since clomid, an anti-estrogen, can thicken the cervical mucus and create a cervical barrier to the sperm, IUI is a valuable adjuvant to clomid therapy.

The disadvantage of IUI is that as many eggs as you ovulate can fertilize and implant.  In cases where multiple eggs are developed in ovarian hyperstimulation therapy like clomid and FSH (bravelle, menopur, gonal F, Follistim) the risk of multiple pregnancy occurring is enhanced.  The increase in pregnancy rate from this therapy as well as the increased risks associated with IUIs needs to be compared with the relatively superior success rate from In Vitro Fertilization where a single embryo transfer may be performed and excess embryos cryopreserved for a subsequent cycle.  If costs of the treatments are a consideration, such reduced-cost procedures like Minimal Stimulation IVF or Micro-IVF may prove to be a cost effective alternative to IUI when insurance does not cover the IUIs.

Interestingly, not all insurance companies have caught on to this issue of a higher risk of multiple pregnancy with IUI associated with clomid or FSH.  Some require patients to go through a minimum number of IUIs prior to covering the more effective and safer IVF.

Ironically, a multiple pregnancy will cost the insurance company far more than if they had covered IVF.

Worth repeating from the last podcast on clomid therapy: For those patients without insurance coverage, Micro-IVF, minimal stimulation IVF (utilizing Clomid), costs approximately the same as three Clomid/IUI cycles but offers women under 35 years of age a better than 40% pregnancy rate and as such may be a more cost effective alternative.

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