What are ICI, ITI and IVI Fertility Treatments? Which Is The Best Insemination Technique?
Artificial insemination has become one of the most common and acceptable forms of fertility treatments. It addresses fertility issues in both men and women. Insemination by definition is the process of introducing sperm into the female’s uterus to impregnate her. It has to be done during woman’s most fertile period i.e. a couple of days before the start of ovulation.
In common terms, when most people talk about artificial insemination they mean intrauterine insemination. It is the procedure in which chemically washed semen is injected into the uterus of a woman for fertilization. While intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the most common type of artificial insemination in prevalence, there are other ways to do this.
Types of Insemination
Intracervical Insemination (ICI)
The ideal situation for fertilization to take place is when sperm is closer to the cervix. As the name denotes, ICI treatment involves placing the sperm directly into the cervix with the help of a needless syringe or a cervical cap. In this method, there is no need to wash the sperm, the same way as it’s done in intrauterine insemination. However, in some cases, it may be washed to increase the success rate.
It is mainly used by couples who are tight on money as ICI cost less than IUI. The pre-washing of semen may increase the cost a little.
Intratubal Insemination (ITI)
In this technique, sperm is prewashed and then transferred directly into the fallopian tube of the woman using a special catheter (tube). The catheter passes through the cervix and uterus to the fallopian tube. This technique is also known as fallopian tube sperm perfusion.
Laparoscopic surgery is another way to perform this treatment. Intratubal insemination is a debatable procedure in the medical fraternity due to its invasive nature. It is associated with increased risk of trauma and infection.
The cost is high in this procedure and rate of success is also uncertain. So, this kind of treatment is uncommon.
Intravaginal Insemination (IVI)
This is the simplest form of insemination in which sperm is placed into the vagina of the woman. The placement of sperm is pretty much the same as happens during natural sexual intercourse. Then the sperm takes it usual route and fertilizes the egg.
The procedure of IVI is same as of ICI. The sperm need not be washed. This treatment can also be performed at home and is often chosen by women who have painful sex.
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How to determine which is the best method of insemination?
There are a variety of factors involved when it comes to artificial insemination. It would be inaccurate to say that one form is better than the other. Below are the following points that would help you decide which one is the best for you.
- In terms of cost, IUI is the most expensive because sperm needs to be washed before the procedure. This treatment is performed only in clinics. Intrauterine insemination can also be a good option for couples with unexplained fertility.
- IUI can also be a good option in case where male infertility factor is involved such as low sperm count or sperm motility.
- If there is no male fertility factor involved, especially when using donor sperm, ICI or IVI can be a great option which cost less and as effective as IUI.
- For women with painful sexual intercourse, ICI or IVI can be a good option. However, painful sexual intercourse could be occurring due to some underlying health issues such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
While looking at the different insemination techniques, one could easily observe similarity but the methodology could be different from clinic to clinic. ICI and IVI look like natural and convenient methods that could be done at the comfort of home. There are artificial insemination kits available for purchase that allows you to perform insemination at home.
Home insemination has also high success rates with 80 percent of women conceive a child within a year of using these kits. However, there are risks of getting an infection when performing at home.
Talk to your doctor
It’s better to consult a fertility expert and know all the nitty gritty of insemination. Many of them will suggest intrauterine insemination as it is the most popular method used in fertility centers. But on the other hand, ICI or IVI may also prove beneficial to you as they are less expensive.
Don’t fear to ask your doctor as to which is the best form of insemination.