Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a treatment method adopted to treat infertility in which the natural barriers are overcome for the sperm to reach the egg. The process may be performed using the husband’s sperm (AIH) or donor sperm (DI).
Your partner’s sperm is deposited directly into the uterus at the time of ovulation to improve the chances of conception.
You can find IUI useful if you face any of these problems
Female infertility- You may not ovulate regularly. In such cases medications are prescribed for inducing ovulation. IUI is performed to time insemination along with ovulation. It can also be used when a woman has a hostile cervix which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg.
Male Infertility – Low sperm count or motility problems prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. In such cases injecting the sperm into the uterus may be helpful. It may also be used when the male has ejaculation or erection problems or has medical conditions like retrograde ejaculation.
Fertility Preservation- Sperm may be frozen for future use if men plan to perform vasectomy, testicular surgery or treatment for cancer which may interfere with fertility in future.
The sperm sample is collected at home or the clinic. The sperm is “washed” or separated. This is done to concentrate the sperm and separate it from seminal fluid. It may take a couple of hours. It is then inserted directly into the woman’s uterus at the time of ovulation. You can wait for two weeks after the insemination procedure prior to testing for a pregnancy.
The success of an IUI depends on the causes for infertility. It also depends on factors such as fertility drugs administered, age of the female partner etc. Using fertility medications increases your chances of multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets etc). Also using semen sample with higher sperm count can provide greater chances of success. A few cycles of IUI may be necessary to yield promising results. Be sure to check with your fertility specialist if IUI is the right treatment method for you.