What is Intrauterine insemination?
Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment that utilizes 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 a woman’s natural menstrual cycle or following the administration of medications such as Clomid or gonadotropins to stimulate ovarian activity. It is important to note that when medication is used, there is a slight risk of multiple pregnancies.
To proceed with IUI, a semen sample is obtained either at home or in the reproductive unit through masturbation after a period of 2-4 days without ejaculation. The collected semen is then subjected to laboratory processing, where the sperm is separated from other components and concentrated into a smaller volume. This process typically takes around 60 minutes.
Following the sperm processing, the washed sperm is introduced into either the cervix (with relatively lower success rates) or the uterine cavity (yielding higher success rates) using a specialized catheter. The procedure is akin to a pap smear test and is generally well-tolerated by women. Its duration ranges from 15 to 20 minutes, after which the woman remains lying on her back for a brief period.
After the IUI procedure, the woman can resume her normal daily activities. Approximately two weeks later, she can perform an at-home pregnancy test or undergo a blood test to determine pregnancy status.
What are the success rates?
The success rates of IUI can significantly vary. Factors such as the woman’s age (particularly for women over 40) and the quality of sperm play a crucial role in determining the chances of success.
For women under the age of 35, the success rates typically range between 15% and 20% per cycle. Couples can consider repeating this therapy for a period of three to six months before exploring alternative fertility treatments.