Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a simple procedure that helps the sperm reach the fallopian tubes so that fertilization of an egg may occur. This is necessary when there are abnormal semen parameters like decreased sperm count or decreased motility that prevent the sperm from making their way up the uterus and to the fallopian tube.
Prior to selecting IUI as an option, male partners must have a recent semen analysis, which will determine the motility, volume, and morphology of his sperm. The female partner will be required to have a sonohysterogram to assess the uterine cavity and the fallopian tubes to ensure the tubes are open.
The IUI Procedure:
After completion of all the required testing, your physician will usually order the treatment (medication in the form of tablets and/or injections), which is best suited for you. In cases of pure male factor infertility, natural cycle IUI (without any additional medications) is also a reasonable option.
All treatment cycles are very closely monitored with ultrasounds and blood work in order to ensure optimal results and to avoid multiple pregnancies. When follicle size is deemed to be suitable for ovulation, you will be given an injection to cause ovulation. This will allow us to accurately time the insemination. On the expected date of ovulation, IUI using your partner’s prepared sperm will be performed. Two inseminations per cycle are sometimes indicated if we are dealing with significant male factor issues.
Many couples will wish to try 3-4 IUI cycles before considering more advanced techniques, such as IVF. The odds for conception in IUI cycles varies from 10-30% per cycle, depending on the reproductive health of the couple and treatment protocol used to stimulate the ovaries.
How is IUI performed? An IUI is a simple procedure and requires no anesthesia. A speculum is inserted into the vagina to expose the cervical opening. A catheter is loaded with the washed sperm and inserted through the cervix and into the uterus, where the sperm is injected.