Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves preparing the male partners sperm in the laboratory and then placing those sperm which move well, and are normally formed in the woman’s uterus. The sperm are transferred into the uterus at the time of ovulation.

IUI can be performed with the sperm of the male partner or with donor sperm.

What is IUI?

IUI, also known as artificial insemination is a type of fertility treatment that involves placing sperm directly into a woman’s uterus (womb). The aim of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes. It is here that fertilisation takes place. An increase in the number of sperm in the fallopian tubes increases the chance of pregnancy. IUI is sometimes recommended prior to more invasive fertility treatments such as IVF.

Advantages of IUI

One of the biggest advantages of IUI is that it is a relatively simple process, which has fewer side effects and is cheaper than other fertility treatments such as IVF. IUI can be broken down into three steps. Ovulation is tracked in the woman using either blood tests or ovulation trackers. During the fertile period, semen is collected and washed. The sperm is then inserted into the uterus. The semen washing removes everything but the most motile and healthiest sperm, ensuring they have the best chance of reaching an egg in the fallopian tube.

As eggs do not need to be removed from the body as with IVF, the process is much less invasive.

IUI with own sperm

IUI with your partner’s sperm is possible if you are experiencing certain fertility issues. If your partner has moderate quality sperm with regards to quantity and motility, the washing procedure can ensure that healthy and motile sperm is inserted.

IUI with donor sperm

IUI can be performed with donor sperm. This is possible if you do not have a partner, or are in a same-sex relationship. Additionally, if your partner has previously had a vasectomy, has a low sperm count, or any other condition that affects his ability to produce healthy and motile sperm, sperm can be used from a donor.

Is IUI for me?

IUI is suitable for women who are ovulating and whose fallopian tubes are open and healthy. If you have endometriosis, your chances of falling pregnant using IUI may be reduced. If you are a woman who is not ovulating naturally, fertility drugs can sometimes be used to stimulate ovulation prior to IUI.

Success rates of IUI

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA) maintains success rates of various fertility treatments. IUI tends to have a slightly lower success rate than other methods such as IVF. For women aged under 35, 14% will become pregnant following IUI. This drops to 3% for women over 42. Success rates are linked to the reason for infertility, the quality of the sperm used, and whether or not fertility medications were used to stimulate ovulation.

To find out more about IUI and whether it could be the right fertility treatment for you, contact us at FertilityOne2One today.