Friday, December 25, 2015

The StorkOTC...IVI vs. ICI vs. IUI

Welcome Back y'all!  If you are just arriving to learn about The StorkOTC, I encourage you to take a few moments to read out Background post HERE.  This just covers our little TTC story and why we were selected to review this product.

This week we are discussing the ICI procedure and the differences between an IVI and ICI and an IUI.  NEXT WEEK, Daddy Bun and I are dissecting the StorkOTC and going over the instructions in depth.  Yes, that's right...we are still learning and we don't feel confident enough to go over the device itself just yet.  Instead we want to explain all the acronyms and the differences to help you choose what procedure may be best for you!  The idea is not to sell you the StorkOTC, it's to give you as much information as possible so that you can make your own decision.

Let's start with the basics...

  • What the heck is an ICI and how is it different from an IUI?  
  • How is it different from the "old fashioned way"?
  • Is an ICI just an IUI at home?  
  • Why is it cheaper? 
  • Do they perform them in the RE's office?  
  • Is this going to work for me?

ICI stands for for Intracervical Insemination...which is quite simply, insemination through the cervix.  How is it different than an IUI?  Let me tell you, that one letter makes a difference in two areas: cost and location of insemination site.  The ICI procedure is performed at the entry to your cervix, where an IUI is inserted past your cervix into your uterus.  The second difference is the cost.  An ICI is a fraction of the cost of an IUI.  For example, The StorkOTC device is $80 and the cost for an IUI procedure is $1500 and does not include medications (this cost is based on my RE at FertilityCARE in Winter Park and may vary from office to office).  In shopping numbers that is almost 95% off...and that is a number you can take home to your hubby or partner and say LOOK HOW MUCH I SAVED!

THAT my friends, was reason enough for me to want to try this device!

How is it different than the "old fashioned way"? Guess what, the old fashioned way has an acronym too and it's "IVI" short for intravaginal insemination.  The difference between IVI and ICI is the distance the sperm have to travel.  You may not know that when you have intercourse your vaginal canal actually those swimmers must make it through the vaginal canal, into the cervical opening and finally to the uterus...HELLO marathon!  Are your swimmers lazy, slow or lower in number?  Because if they are, there's a chance they're going to get tired before they get to your cervix.  Then what??  No trip to the "motherland" in the uterus, they just hang out confused wondering why the egg never showed up!  And that egg is in the uterus, just waiting, looking at her little egg watch thinking they stopped for directions!  How long is a vaginal canal?  Well that really depends on your body so without a speculum and a ruler it is hard for me to tell.  I'm sorry you will have to leave that up to your RE, your partner or your hubby!

So now we have THREE acronyms...IVI (vaginal), ICI (cervical), and IUI (unterine)...TEST TO COME up!

Isn't an ICI like an at home IUI?  It is close but there are some very important things you CANNOT do with an ICI that you must do with an IUI.  And that, my friends, is why they acronyms are different!  There are some key details that differentiate the two.  Again, the first obvious ones are location and cost, an IUI is in your uterus and the cost is about 95% more expensive.  But just like an infomercial...BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!!  The third is the catheter which is required to get those swimmers from your cervix to your uterus.  And more importantly, is the need for those swimmers to be "washed".  Now I'm not talking a shower with soap and water, HA.  A sperm wash separates the sperm from the semen and it also separates the non-motile swimmers from the bunch.  Skipping this part of the process during an IUI can results in horrible uterine cramping and maybe even infection.  Now, I know what you're thinking!  How does it work the other way without washing?  Because your body naturally takes care of the "washing" using the other two procedures.  But getting it straight to the uterus moves past all the natural ways your body washes sperm.  So what's the difference y'all??  Cost, location, catheter and washing!

That brings us to why an ICI is cheaper than an IUI...and that takes into account the cost to wash the sperm the doctor who is inserting it into your uterus.  Hey you didn't think he was going to do that for free did you?  When you add a sperm wash and a medical doctor, you add about $1400 to the cost.  So, that was probably the easiest question of the day!

So do they perform ICI's at the RE?  My RE does not, and here is why...the success rate is lower than an IUI.  Well of course it is, the IUI gets the sperm closest to the's natural to assume an ICI would have a lower success rate since the sperm have a little farther to go.  But the farthest trip the sperm will take is from IVI.  So the ICI brings you a few step closer than an IVI but not as close as an IUI.

Will this work for me?  I wish I could say with a resounding YES that it will work for you.  This product is designed to bring you closer to the finish line but it's not a guaranteed win for the race.  If your swimmers are slow, it's like skipping from the starting like to the halfway point.  If your cervical mucus is thick and the swimmers can't get past it in the vaginal canal, an ICI will slide it right on by.  But there are no guarantees, not with IVI, ICI, IUI or even IVF.  There are just not guarantees.  The StorkOTC is designed to help you get closer to the goal line.  And with our current situation, we need to be closer to the goal line.

To recap, The StorkOTC is an ICI device designed to bring sperm closer to the "Motherland" to aid in conception.  It's not quite an IUI because it deposits the sperm at the cervix but it is much closer than the vaginal canal so it could be a great option if you have slow swimmers or less than average motility.  If you have no sperm this will not work for you.  If you have very poor counts, this will not be a good option for you.  If you're cycle is highly irregular, I would not recommend an ICI for you.  Because timing is very important and if your body is not yet right with timing, it will be difficult to know when you need to perform the procedure.
I hope this post gave a little clarity as to the procedures available and where The StorkOTC fits in the offensive line of TTC.  Do you have questions about The StorkOTC?  About the different procedures we discussed?  Leave a question in the comments below or head over to the RIGHT of the blog and Contact the Brains Behind the Blog using the contact form.  That's me y'all.  I'm the brains of this operation.