Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment done to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tube to enhance the chances of fertilization. The treatment involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. It is a less invasive treatment option that provides the sperm an advantage by giving it a head start. But the sperm still requires reaching and fertilizing the egg on its own. It is a less expensive option when compared to in vitro fertilization.
When is IUI used?
Low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility is the most common reason for IUI. It is also used for couples affected by mild endometriosis, problems with ovulation and mild male factor infertility. It may be selected as a fertility treatment under the following conditions as well.
- Unexplained infertility.
- Ejaculation dysfunction.
- A hostile cervical condition, including cervical mucus problems.
- Cervical scar tissue from past procedures which may hinder the ability of sperms to enter the uterus.
How does IUI work?
- Before intrauterine insemination, your doctor may give you ovulation-stimulating medications to determine when the eggs mature.
- Then, around the time of ovulation, the IUI procedure will be performed typically about 24-36 hours after triggering of ovulation.
- A semen sample will be washed to separate the semen from the seminal fluid in the lab.
- To insert the sperm directly into the uterus, a catheter is used. This will maximize the number of sperm cells that are placed in the uterus and thus increasing the possibility of conception. It takes only a few minutes for this procedure to complete. This procedure involves minimal discomfort.