Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is preceded by semen processing. Semen processing involves a laboratory procedure to separate fast moving sperms from more sluggish or non-moving sperms.

The fast moving sperms are then placed into the woman’s womb close to the time of ovulation when the egg is released from the ovary in the middle of the monthly cycle.

When is IUI used?

The most common reasons for IUI are 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
  • Some ovulation problems
  • Impotency or Ejaculation Dysfunction
  • Cervical scar tissue from past procedures which may hinder the sperms ability to enter the uterus

How successful is IUI?

The success of IUI depends on several factors. If a couple has the IUI procedure performed each month, success rate may reach as high as 20% per cycle depending on variable such as female age, the reason for infertility, and whether fertility drug 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.However, if one is interested in IUI, they can go for it as there is minimal discomfort and though the rate is less in comparison to IVF but miracles do happen most of the times.

Hystero-Salpingography:

The typical method for assessing the health of your pelvis and the patency of your fallopian tubes is Contrast Study and Laparoscopy.

Contrast Study, popularly known as Hystero-Salpingo Graphy (HSG) is an x-ray study wherein contrast is injected through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. The contrast material (loosely known as Dye) is seen under the x-ray image intensifier, traveling through the fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity. This spillage of contrast in to the abdomen confirms patency of the tube of that particular side. In patient’s language, this study is known as “Tube Test”

At laparoscopy, a direct view of the pelvis is obtained by inserting a telescope into the abdomen. When the pelvis and tubes are healthy, dye passes freely through both the tubes. There should be no adhesions present that might prevent an egg from having access to either tube from the ovaries. This is performed under a short general anaesthetic.

The test may show that you only have one open healthy tube although you may have both ovaries. IUI treatment can then only be carried out when there is evidence that ovulation is about to occur from the ovary that is on the same side as the open tube. The second essential requirement is that semen is of optimum quality.

How IUI works?

Before intrauterine insemination, ovulation stimulating medications may be used, in which case careful monitoring will be necessary to determine when the egg 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 only takes few minutes and involves only minimal discomfort. The next step is to watch for signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

IUI is not recommended for the following patients:

  • Women who have severe disease of the fallopian tubes
  • Women with a history of pelvic infections

What are the risks of IUI?

The chance 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.