Intrauterine insemination is one of the commonly used assisted reproductive techniques. Normally, the sperms swim through the female reproductive organs (cervix and uterus and fallopian tube) to reach the egg. Once the sperm fuses with the egg an embryo develops and grows during pregnancy into a foetus.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization.
When is IUI used?
The most common reasons for IUI are a low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility. However it may be a treatment option in the following conditions as well:
- Unexplained infertility
- When there is a cervical condition preventing pregnancy including a cervical mucus problem
- Cervical scar tissue from past procedures which may hinder the sperms’ ability to enter the uterus
- Ejaculation dysfunction with ovulation induction
What is the procedure?
Before intrauterine insemination, ovulation stimulating medications may be used and you will be monitored to determine when the eggs are mature.
The IUI procedure will be performed around the time of ovulation.
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 entire procedure takes only a few minutes and you may feel little pain.
What are the risks of IUI
With ovulation induction the chances of becoming pregnant with multiples is increased. There is also a small risk of infection after IUI.
How successful is IUI?
The success of IUI depends on several factors. If a couple has the IUI procedure performed each month, success rates may reach as high as 20% per cycle depending on variables such as female age, the reason for infertility, and whether fertility drugs were used, among other variables.
How successful is an IUI procedure?
The success of the procedure depends on your age, the cause of infertility, and the type of fertility drugs used.
Success rates by age:
- If your age is less than 35 years, you have 10 to 20 % chance of becoming pregnant
- If your age is between 35 and 40 years, there is 10 % chance of you becoming pregnant
- If your age is 40 years and more, you have 2 to 5 % chance of becoming pregnant