What is IUI?
Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment that involves specially preparing the sperm in a laboratory and placing it directly inside the woman’s uterine cavity to facilitate the fertilisation process.
Ultimately the goal of IUI is to maximise the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes thus increasing the chances of fertilisation.
Who Needs It?
IUI is most useful for:
- Heterosexual couples who find it very difficult, or are unable to, have sexual intercourse
- Same-sex couples using donor sperm
- Single women using donor sperm
- Couples with severe male factor problems using donor sperm
- National guidelines increasingly recommend proceeding straight to IVF after a period of trying to conceive with unexplained subfertility, mild male problems or mild endometriosis. In the past IUI may have been more frequently recommended.
The recipient of the IUI must have fallopian tubes (the tubes connecting the ovaries to the uterus) that are open and healthy, because this is where the sperm will fertilise the egg and how the resulting embryo moves down into the uterus.
The fallopian tubes can be checked by an ultrasound (HyCoSy), an X-ray (HSG) or by a laparoscopy and dye test.
How does it work?
IUI can be offered in conjunction with:
- Natural cycle
- Clomid cycle
- Super ovulation cycle
- Ovulation Induction cycle
- Donor sperm
The development of the follicles will be monitored by blood tests and ultrasound scans. If required, ovulation will be triggered with an injection of human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG). This will induce the release of the eggs, at which stage the male partner is asked to produce a semen sample (donor sperm may be used where required). The sperm is then specially prepared in the lab and then directly placed into the woman’s uterus using a simple minimally invasive procedure using a fine catheter. (similar to having a smear.)