Ovarian Stimulation and Insemination
A common component of fertility treatment for women is ovarian stimulation. Treatment protocols include oral or injectable medications. These medications are used to stimulate the growth of one or more follicles, depending on the particular diagnosis and aim of treatment. Ovarian stimulation requires monitoring of follicle growth and hormone levels using vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests. These tests are necessary to ensure the safety of treatment, by maximizing the chance of pregnancy while minimizing the risk of multiple pregnancy.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination is a frequently used fertility treatment option that is most commonly employed in the following circumstances:
• Unexplained infertility or male factor infertility in couples
• Single women
• Same-sex female couples
The insemination procedure involves placing either donor sperm or partner sperm into the uterus using a catheter or thin flexible tube. First, a semen sample is ‘washed’ in our laboratory, selecting the healthiest sperm for use in insemination. (Donor sperm often comes pre-washed so this step is not required). Then, the sperm are placed into the uterus using a catheter or thin flexible tube. The insemination is timed to coincide with ovulation. This allows a greater number of quickly moving sperm to reach the egg than is possible with intercourse. IUI is often combined with ovarian stimulation to maximize the chance of pregnancy.
Check out our educational videos related to ovulation stimulation and IUI procedures.
What are my chances of getting pregnant with an IUI procedure?
Pregnancy rates for IUI depend upon a number of factors including age of the woman and sperm quality of the male. When purchased from a reputable distributor, the quality of donor sperm should not be an issue for those women using donor insemination. In general, a healthy woman under the age of 35 can expect a pregnancy rate of about 19% per try. It is common for a woman to undertake multiple inseminations.
How much time do I need to plan?
It takes 4 to 6 weeks to see one of our specialists and an additional 6 weeks to obtain results for pre-treatment testing. Assuming everything is fine, you could start the process of an insemination cycle 3 to 4 months after your family doctor has referred you to one of our specialists.
What procedures are involved leading up to an insemination?
On your first visit, you will have blood tests to determine hormone levels, as well as standard infectious disease testing. Your fertility specialist will order an ultrasound exam to test for tubal patency (ensure tubes are open) and a baseline ultrasound exam of your uterus. These are standard tests for all fertility patients. All of this is covered by OHIP.
How much should I expect to pay?
All diagnostic tests and consultations leading up to insemination are covered by the provincial health insurance plan (OHIP). In addition, most of the fees for an insemination cycle are also covered by OHIP. In general, you can expect to pay about $850 per insemination using your partner’s sperm and about $350 per insemination if you are using pre-washed Donor Sperm (excluding purchase of sperm). There may be additional costs for medications, if they are required. The need for medications varies for each patient.