I rarely receive anonymous comments on my blog (for that matter, I don't get that many comments at all, but I love the ones I do get), but I did get one today. It reads:
I'm thinking good thoughts for you. May your level-headed expectations be rewarded with the best outcome. The conflict with work has got me wondering: What actually is the statistical difference in a situation such as yours between an IUI and well-timed intercourse?
I don't actually know the answer to this. As far as I can figure, for most problems, IUI doesn't raise the odds very far above well-timed intercourse. I suppose in cases where there are issues with not having EWCM, the IUI makes a significant difference, since it bypasses the cervix. I know that in normal, healthy, fertile couples, with well-timed intercourse, there is about a 20% chance per cycle of successfully conceiving a child. I also know that the odds of IUI working in any given cyle are about 20% per cycle. Further, this is even true in women with no fertility issues... 20% odds per cycle, period.
So what does IUI actually get me? Well, for one thing, it guarantees the timing. There have been a number of medicated cycles that we've had where we wouldn't have been able to make the timing had we been relying on "the old fashioned way". Most notably, we almost missed out on the timing this cycle because I didn't think I'd get to mikveh in time.** In a non-medicated cycle, I simply don't ovulate, so that doesn't help either. So there's that. The guarantee of timing.
Other than that? Not a whole heck of a lot, actually. It just gives a bit of peace of mind, I suppose. I suppose this is one of the reasons I'm not terribly interested in continuing to do IUI for much longer. On the other hand, over three years of trying the old fashioned way, even with Clomid assistance, yielded no results, but 8 months of IUIs yielded a pregnancy, albeit a short-lived one. So I suppose in the long run, IUI has been good to us, comparatively speaking.
That being said, tomorrow is IUI day, and for whatever reason, I wouldn't want to rely on getting our own timing right, and I'm just as happy that S was able to get his work schedule to accommodate. I'm actually beginning to wonder if we ought to have a, um, you know, sample cryopreserved... just in case we have another conflict, but one he can't wriggle out of. I dunno. I mean, I suppose there's always the chance that it will be a moot point, right? After all, it's theoretically possible that I could get pregnant this time. Right? Stop laughing! Okay, I can't stop laughing either, but after I peel myself off the floor, I'll consider shooting my doctor an email to see if it would be a complete waste of time and money to have a back up plan, so to speak.
**Mikveh is... well, it's hard to explain. Jewish law mandates that a Jewish couple separate for a minimum of 12 days starting the first day of a woman's menstrual cycle (well, the first day she sees blood, which may, or may not, correspond with the medical definition of CD1). At the conclusion of their separation, the couple does not resume relations until after the woman has immersed in a ritual bath, called a mikveh. That's the short story. If you want the longer story, I can point you to some links.