What is Intrauterine insemination?
Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment that uses a catheter to place washed sperm inside the uterus.
What are the indications for IUI?
- Unexplained infertility
- Low sperm count and reduced motility
- Azoospermia-donor sperm
- Cervical factors
- Ejaculate dysfunction
- Single women or same sex relationship
How is IUI performed?
IUI can be performed during the womans natural cycle or after she is given medications like Clomid or gonadotrophins to stimulate her ovaries .There is a small risk of multiple pregnancy when the woman is taking medication.
A semen specimen is produced at home or in the reproductive unit by masturbation after 2-4 days of abstinence from ejaculation.
The semen then is washed in the laboratory(sperm processing).The sperm is separated from the other components of the semen and concentrated in a small volume.This process takes about 60 minutes.
The washed sperm then is placed either in the cervix(low success rates)or in the uterine cavity(higher success rates)using a specific catheter.The procedure is similar to a pap smear test and the women tolerate IUI very well.It lasts 15-20 min and then the woman is lying on her back for a brief period.
After IUI the woman can return to her normal daily activities and after two weeks she can take an at-home pregnancy test or a blood test.
What are the success rates?
The success rates vary a lot in IUI.Age of the woman(the success rates are very low in women over 40)and sperm quality are the most significant factors regarding success.
For women younger than 35 years old the success rates are 15-20% per cycle and the couple can repeat this therapy for three to six months before moving on to other fertility treatments.