Overview Of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a simple artificial insemination technique and is performed on patients with unexplained infertility. Patent tubes are necessary for IUI and a laparoscopic or a hysterosalpingogram (x-ray of the tubes and uterus) investigation might be needed. IUI is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm directly into the uterus. It is an effective technique with a high success rate. Sperm can either be provided by your partner or from a donor. The semen is washed depending on quality and immune status. The ovaries are stimulated as per IVF cycle. Ovulation is induced at the time of insemination. The semen is then loaded into a cannula and inserted into the uterus.

IUI can be done in a spontaneous cycle when the women is ovulating spontaneously or in a stimulated cycle (Clomid or injectable). This is called controlled superovulation and washed artificial insemination. Should there be signs of hyperstimulation, then the programme may be aborted or converted to IVF.

  • When is IUI used?

    The most common reasons for IUI are a low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility. However, IUI may be selected as a fertility treatment for any of the following conditions as well:

    • Unexplained infertility
    • A hostile cervical condition, including cervical mucus problems
    • Cervical scar tissue which may hinder the sperms entering the uterus
    • Ejaculation dysfunction
    • Women who have severe disease of the Fallopian tubes
    • Women with a history of pelvic infections
    • Women with moderate to severe endometriosis
  • How does IUI work?

    Before intrauterine insemination, ovulation stimulating medications may be used, in which case careful monitoring will be necessary to determine when the eggs are mature. The IUI procedure will then be performed around the time of ovulation, typically about 24-36 hours after the surge in LH hormone that indicates ovulation will occur soon.

    A semen sample will be washed by the lab to separate the semen from the seminal fluid. A catheter will then be used to insert the sperm directly into the uterus. This process maximizes the number of sperm cells that are placed in the uterus, thus increasing the possibility of conception.

    The IUI procedure takes only a few minutes and involves minimal discomfort. The next step is to watch for signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

  • What are the risks of IUI?

    The chances of becoming pregnant with multiples is increased if you take fertility medication when having IUI. There is also a small risk of infection after IUI.

  • How successful is IUI?

    The success of IUI depends on several factors. If a couple has the IUI procedure performed each month, success rates may reach as high as 20% per cycle depending on variables such as female age, the reason for infertility, and whether fertility drugs were used, among other variables.

    While IUI is a less invasive and less expensive option, pregnancy rates from IUI are lower than those from IVF. If you think you may be interested in IUI, talk with our doctor to discuss your options.

Intrauterine Insemination

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