There are many conditions that can impact female fertility and make it more difficult to conceive. One of the most common causes of female infertility is polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, which is estimated to affect nearly 10 percent of women.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) places sperm directly in the uterus, so conception is more likely. IUI benefits women with PCOS by introducing sperm to the uterus during ovulation.
PCOS is the result of a hormonal imbalance. Women with PCOS have abnormal levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to increased levels of androgenic hormones. Androgenic hormones, like testosterone, are commonly recognized as male hormones.
The hormonal imbalances related to PCOS can cause a number of side effects. However, one of its biggest effects is compromised female fertility. PCOS often causes women to have infrequent periods, or sometimes no period at all. If a woman does not ovulate regularly, it is far more difficult for her to become pregnant, because she has fewer periods of time when she is fertile, and it is difficult to track when ovulation will occur.
IUI deposits sperm directly into the uterus. This procedure greatly reduces the distance sperm must travel to reach an egg, which makes it more likely that conception will be a success. As far as PCOS is concerned, IUI is beneficial because it gives women better chances of conceiving during ovulation, which is very important when ovulation occurs infrequently.
Beyond the benefits of IUI treatment alone, PCOS patients can gain even more advantages when IUI is combined with ovarian induction. During ovarian induction, our Scottsdale patients are given a series of fertility drugs. Fertility drugs provide hormones that are vital to female reproduction.
Ovarian induction not only allows our fertility specialists to track ovulation, so that IUI treatment can be timed properly, but it also encourages the production of more than one mature follicle. The more follicles that are produced, the more eggs that can be released, thus giving patients more chances for conception.
IUI can be very successful for women suffering from PCOS. However, if a woman undergoes two to three cycles of IUI treatment and still has not become pregnant, it may be time to consider alternate fertility treatments.
In many cases in which IUI for PCOS is not a success, we recommend in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF involves collecting eggs and fertilizing them in a lab before transferring successful embryos to the uterus. This treatment oversees all areas of conception, and can be extremely beneficial to women with PCOS.
We can discuss these and other treatment options with you in greater detail during the consultation process.
PCOS can be a roadblock to becoming pregnant, but it doesn’t make conception impossible. To learn how the fertility services offered at Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health can help you, send us a message online or call (480) 860-4792 at your earliest convenience.