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OK I did some research on those a while back for a girl I used to work with and if I remember correctly the trans-abdominal one actually had much higher success rates then the normal cerclage.
If I remember right the regular cerclage is placed AFTER you are pregnant and your cervix is stiched closed like a coin purse if you know what I mean. They will stich it around and then cinch it closed and when it is time for birth they just unstitch it.
The trans-abdominal one is done BEFORE you are actually pregnant and in that one I think I remember that they go in almost like laparoscopy and make a U shaped stich from one side of the uterus to the other, so in this one they are actually stiching it closed above the cervix. I am pretty sure however that once you have a trans-abdominal one you must follow with a c-section as the stiches do not come out and therefore a baby will not fit through that area. The catheter for IUI will and sperm will and small things but your uterus will not open like it should. They say though that the trans-abdominal is the best for preventing pre-term labor and early dialation since really you can dialate with the trans-abdominal but since you are stitched shut above it cervix it wouldn't make much difference kwim.
I am about to head home from work, but I will try to find all the stuff that I had found for my friend and link it here for you. In the meantime I DO remember that the trans-abdominal was better by FAR than all the other options. (((HUGS)))