ssisted Reproduction: Intratubal Insemination (ITI)

Artificial insemination is one form of assisted reproduction technology that a couple trying to conceive may opt for in order to improve the chances of getting pregnant. Intratubal insemination (ITI) is one of four types of artificial insemination options available alongside intrauterine insemination (IUI), intracervical insemination (ICI) and intravaginal insemination (IVI). But just how does intratubal insemination differ from other types of artificial insemination procedures? And what types of fertility problems can intratubal insemination treat?

What is Intratubal Insemination (ITI)?

Intratubal insemination (ITI) is a type of artificial insemination procedure. In general, artificial insemination treatments aim to place sperm into a woman’s reproductive system when doing so through sexual intercourse is either not possible or difficult to achieve.

The procedure works by placing sperm directly into one or both fallopian tubes. Intratubal insemination may offer a better chance of getting pregnant, since sperm do not have to swim through the cervix in order to fertilise an egg.

ITI is not typically performed as this infertility treatment is associated with high costs and is a more intrusive artificial insemination procedure.

Types of Intratubal Insemination

There are two types of intratubal insemination:

  • intrafallopian insemination (IFI)
  • sperm intrafallopian transfer (SIFT)

Intrafallopian insemination (IFI) is typically performed by a reproductive endocrinologist at your fertility clinic. Sperm is collected and washed before being placed into a sterile syringe. A catheter is inserted through the vagina and into the uterus while the patient is under local anesthesia. The semen is pushed through the catheter and deposited in either one or both fallopian tubes.

Sperm intrafallopian transfer (SIFT) is a more invasive infertility treatment and is performed in a hospital or at a fertility clinic. SIFT requires laparoscopic surgery.

When undergoing SIFT, a sperm sample from the male partner is collected and prepared. Under either local or general anesthetic, a small incision is made in the abdomen and a small camera isinserted into the pelvis in order to locate the fallopian tubes. A catheter is then inserted into the fallopian tubes, and a sterile syringe deposits the sperm.

ITI and Infertility Problems

ITI may help couples who are experiencing infertility problems when other forms of artificial insemination procedures such as IUI have not been successful. Intratubal insemination may offer infertility treatment for the following fertility problems:

Artificial Insemination Side Effects and Complications

Artificial insemination is typically associated with the following potential side effects:

  • mild discomfort
  • cramping
  • bleeding
  • spotting

Women who are using fertility drugs while undergoing artificial insemination are at a higher risk of developing complications that are specific to the medication. Other potential complications associated with artificial insemination include the following:

  • risk of infection including STDs if sperm is improperly screened
  • possibility of using wrong semen
  • ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • multiple pregnancy (which can pose risks to mother and baby)
  • failure of treatment

Artificial Insemination Success Rates

Artificial insemination success rates have not been determined. In general, the success rates of artificial insemination are believed to be between 5 and 30% for each cycle. Some fertility specialists believe that the success rate is much higher; however, these figures are under debate.

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