BABY BOOSTER NO 4: IUI — WHEN YOUR PARTNER HAS LOW SPERM COUNT OR LOW MOTILITY
“Normally, there are about 20 million moving sperm in an ejaculation," says Dr. Fossum. A low count, between 10 to 20 million moving sperm, or low motility, the number of sperm that are actively swimming, can keep sperm from hitting its desired target: your egg.
How it works: “We insert the sperm into the uterus using a small plastic tube,” says Dr. Fossum, who says intrauterine insemination (IUI) especially beneficial when your partner has between 10 to 20 million moving sperm. "We put the sperm right near the fallopian tube so it only has a short time to travel to reach the egg.” Also, because you’re removing the need to perfectly time when you and your guy get it on, women have about a 2 percent higher chance of getting pregnant with IUI when using gonadotropins than if they had sex at home, says Dr. Fossum.
How it will affect your life: It takes some timing, so be prepared to plan your schedule around it, says Dr. Glassner. That’s because when an egg is released during ovulation, it only remains fertilizable for 12 to 24 hours, and when sperm is deposited inside the reproductive tract of a woman, it only has a 24-72 hour window where it can fertilize an egg. “The woman is monitored closely for ovulation, as a well-timed insertion is important for pregnancy,” says Dr. Glassner.
Average local cost: $300 to $400 per IUI
Possible side effects: Mild cramping during the procedure and vaginal bleeding a few hours following the procedure. Though rare, some patients develop an infection or an allergic reaction to the sperm. Signs of infection include fever, chills, and lower abdominal pain. If you experience these symptoms within four or five days of the procedure, tell your doctor asap.
Octo-mom risk: Zero. “Unless the patient is also on fertility drugs, IUI does not stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs,” says Dr. Fossum.
Where it’s available: Jefferson University Hospital Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, 834 Chestnut St.; Main Line Fertility, Bryn Mawr; Penn Fertility Care, 3701 Market St.; Abington Reproductive Medicine, Abington; The Crozer Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility Center, Upland.