Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a minimally invasive procedure, that places sperm directly into the uterus in such a way that it is closer to eggs produced
What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) ?
One of the most commonly used Assisted Reproduction Technique used to treat infertility. It is a minimally invasive process that places washed perms, bypassing the cervix and inside the uterine cavity, closer to the fallopian tubes, around the time of ovulation, allowing more sperm to reach the egg.
This process is combined with Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation so as to ensure that there is more than one egg available for fertilization.
When is IUI Useful?
IUI can be used to treat both Male and Female Infertility.
The process of IUI is commonly used when the male partner has a borderline low sperm count, poor motility, problems in developing an erection or being able to ejaculate.
IUI is commonly used for women, who have problem not ovulating regularly. In conjunction with ovulation induction, the process is used to treat various issues of female infertility such as endometriosis, cervical scarring due to surgery or infection. However, the process does needs fallopian tubes to be patent (No Blockage), and the husband’s sperm count to be adequate.
HOW IT WORKS?
The sperm sample needed from the man can be collected in two ways:
At the Clinic: Where the man would be required to ejaculate into a plastic cup
At Home: Where the sperm could be collected during sex, wearing a special condom.
In the case of retrograde ejaculation, sperm can be retrieved in the lab from a urine sample.
An abstinence period of 3-4 days is advisable prior to IUI.
Here’s a step by step approach to IUI:
While IUI can be conducted in a natural cycle, it can also be done in conjunction with ovarian hyper-stimulation. Where medication is provided to increase the growth of follicles, so that they can grow into eggs.
Follicular Growth Monitoring
At regular intervals, follicular growth is monitored through ultrasound to check if the follicles have reached the required size.
Sperm is collected from the male partner and ‘washed’ in a laboratory to get rid of the seminal fluid, which can cause severe cramping in women.
Done around the time of ovulation for best results, the whole process takes about 90 minutes to complete, but the process of insemination itself is a few minutes long. Using a soft narrow silicone catheter, the washed semen is placed in the uterine cavity of the woman, improving the chances of fertilization.