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Intracervical Insemination (ICI)

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Intracervical insemination (ICI) is one of the oldest and most common artificial insemination procedures, dating back as far as the 1880s. Similar to intrauterine insemination (IUI), it involves placing sperm directly into the woman's reproductive tract to improve the chances of pregnancy. The main difference is that the ICI procedure places the sperm sample near the cervix, rather than the uterus as in IUI. From the cervix, the sperm travels up the uterus and into the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. Since the sperm is placed further away from the fallopian tubes than in the IUI procedure, prices for ICI are typically much lower.

How Does ICI Work?

Timing of the ICI procedure is very important, as it should be performed around the time of ovulation to increase the chances of conception. The woman may be placed on fertility drugs to help her produce multiple eggs, and her fertility cycle will be monitored to choose the right time to perform the ICI procedure. Her partner will provide a semen sample on the morning of the procedure, either at the clinic or at home. If sperm washing is to be performed in order to weed out the less viable sperm, it is done at the clinic just before the ICI procedure.

The ICI procedure takes about ten minutes to perform. The health care provider will insert a thin and flexible catheter through the woman's vagina until it reaches the cervix. A syringe filled with the sperm sample is attached to the end of the catheter and used to deposit the sperm around the cervix. A sponge cap may be placed over the cervix to prevent the sperm from leaking out. Women may experience some discomfort during the ICI procedure.

ICI Candidates

Candidates for ICI procedures include couples that are dealing with male fertility issues such as low sperm count or motility. The procedure is also recommended to women that have cervical mucus problems.

ICI Success Rates

Depending on the reasons for infertility and the quality of the sperm sample used, success rates for ICI range from 5 percent to 30 percent per cycle. To increase the chances of pregnancy, the insemination procedure is usually performed two times during each cycle. Sperm washing may also increase the chances of pregnancy with ICI.

Cost of Intracervical Insemination (ICI)

In general, ICI costs much less than IUI, which is why it is one of the most common artificial insemination techniques performed. The cost of each ICI cycle ranges between $200 and $350; however, several cycles may be necessary to conceive. In addition, if sperm washing or donor sperm is involved the prices will increase. Many fertility clinics offer package deals, in which patients can purchase several ICI cycles at a lower price point.

Contact a Fertility Clinic in Your Area

If you think that ICI or another artificial insemination procedure may be able to help you and your partner conceive, use DocShop to find a fertility clinic in your area. A fertility specialist can determine the cause of your fertility problems and recommend treatments to help you achieve pregnancy.

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