INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION (IUI)
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is the most commonly performed type of insemination because of its higher success rate. It involves the placement of sperm into the uterus by means other than sexual intercourse. IUI is a simple and painless procedure that can be an effective treatment for some types of infertility.
INDICATIONS FOR IUI
Intrauterine insemination is performed for mild to moderate male infertility, donor insemination, retrograde ejaculation, male or female sexual dysfunction, and cervical abnormalities. Additionally, IUI may be used in combination with fertility medications (Controlled Ovarian Stimulation or COH) for the treatment of unexplained infertility.
The goal of IUI is to have a high concentration of sperm available in the fallopian tubes when the eggs are ovulated. This critical timing is accomplished by monitoring the growth and development of the follicles (sacs in which the eggs develop) at 2-3 visits to determine the optimal time for ovulation. When the follicles are fully developed, ovulation is triggered with a subcutaneous (SQ) injection of hCG, a substance that mimics the natural LH surge before ovulation. The IUI is then performed 36-40 hours after this injection when ovulation is expected to occur.
In preparation for the IUI, the sperm sample is processed using a “sperm wash”. During the wash, sperm are separated from the seminal fluid, concentrated, and then mixed with a very small amount of special liquid. This sperm pellet is loaded into a small flexible catheter (tube) which is gently inserted through the cervix and into the uterus where the sperm is deposited. The sperm are then free to travel to the fallopian tubes. If donor sperm is used, it is prepared in a similar fashion before the insemination.