Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a technique whereby sperm obtained from washed semen is placed into the uterine cavity using a sterile flexible catheter.
The aim of performing an IUI is to induce ovulation using medications and at the time of ovulation, washed semen containing motile and active sperms are placed in the fundus of the uterine cavity so that the sperm will have a shorter distance to travel into the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.
IUI cannot be done when:
IUI can be performed in any women who have difficulty in conceiving but do not have the problems discussed above. The common conditions for which IUI is performed are
Before performing an IUI several tests must be done:
You will be seen on the second day of your menses. Blood test will be done. The blood tests are
These blood test are done to ascertain your ovarian reserve.
Ovulation induction will then be started from the second day of the menses. Ovulation induction drugs includes
Due to the fact that pregnancy rates are better using injections, this is the preferred method of ovulation induction. The dose and duration of the medication is usually individualized and it depends on the several factors namely your age and your ovarian reserve.
Serial transvaginal ultrasounds are performed usually from day 8 of the menstrual cycle. When 2 follicles reach about 16 -18 mm in diameter, hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) injection will be given to induce ovulation. IUI is done 36 hours after that hCG injection.
On the day of the IUI, the husband/partner will need to produce a semen sample by masturbation. He should abstain from ejaculation for 3-5 days before the day of IUI. It is advisable for the semen sample to be produced in the IVF centre, but in man who have difficulty in doing so; the sample can be produced at home but must be brought to the hospital within 30 minutes.
The semen will then be washed in the laboratory. This is called sperm washing or sperm processing. The sperm is separated from the other components of the semen and concentrated in a small volume. Various media and techniques can be used for the washing and separation. Sperm processing takes about 30-60 minutes.
Once the sperm is ready for insemination, a speculum is placed in the vagina and cervix is gently cleaned. The washed specimen of highly motile sperm is placed in the uterine cavity using a sterile flexible catheter. You may feel a slight discomfort during the procedure. You will be advised to remain lying down for about 30 minutes and then you can return home.
You are advised to have sexual intercourse for 2 more days to further increase the number of sperm available for fertilization.
The success rate of IUI using
Pregnancy rates are lower if
Pregnancy rates are usually higher if you do not ovulate on your own for example if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Pregnancy rates are low after 3-failed attempts of IUI. You will be advised to undergo assisted reproductive techniques.
Several problems may arise during an IUI cycle.