ICI, IUI, IVF: What does it all mean?

I can’t tell you how many people have asked, “So you’re just going to use a turkey baster right?” If only it was that simple! There are a few options that are available to us and all vary in price and medical impact. I hope to give a brief (and not too detailed) overview of each.

ICI or Intracervical Insemination: This technique is probably the closest you will get to a turkey baster because it can be done at home or in a doctors office. ICI involves injecting the sperm into the cervix and mimics “normal” conception and has about the same success rates. Since the sperm is unwashed it has higher rates of infection (more on what this means in the next post).

IUI or Intrauterine Insemination: IUI involves injecting sperm through a narrow catheter directly into the woman’s uterus.  IUI can be done with the aid of medication and a trigger shot to pin point the exact time period in which ovulation occurs. This is a helpful procedure because it gives the sperm a head start by inserting the sperm past the hostile environment of the cervix. A good estimate for each cycle would be anywhere ranging from $1,500-3,000.

IVF or In Vitro Fertilization: IVF is a procedure that involves retrieving eggs and sperm from the bodies of a male and female (or in our case a donor) and placing them together in a laboratory dish to enhance fertilization. Fertilized eggs are then transferred several days later into the female’s uterus where implantation and embryo development will hopefully occur in a normal pregnancy. During this process the woman (or persons donating/receiving the egg) take hormones in the form of shots to increase the number of eggs produced. This procedure is rather costly and is very rarely covered by insurance. A good estimate for each cycle would be anywhere ranging from $14,000-20,000.

I am not a certified medical professional. These definitions and explanations are purely from my own research and experience. You should always go with the information you doctor has provided. The book I recommended in my last post “Lesbian Conception 101” has very helpful descriptions and overviews of each of these procedures. 

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