Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
What is an IUI?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), commonly known as artificial insemination is a treatment for unexplained infertility and mild to moderate sperm abnormalities. IUI is frequently combined with ovulation induction or enhancement using oral pills and / or injectable medications.
The goal of an intrauterine insemination is to deliver a high concentration of mobile sperm to the inside of the uterus where it can fertilize with the egg in the fallopian tube.
How is the sperm prepared?
Sperm used in an IUI must be properly prepared in our andrology laboratory, a process known as “sperm washing”. Practically speaking, this concentrates the initial sperm sample into a small volume of liquid with a high percentage of normally shaped and highly mobile sperm.
Figure 1: Sperm is washed and concentrated into a small volume of sterile fluid
How is the sperm placed into the uterus?
Your prepared sperm sample is carefully injected into the uterine cavity using a narrow flexible catheter similar to the way embryos are returned into the uterus during IVF. For most patients, the discomfort experienced with an IUI is similar to a pap smear. You may resume all of your normal activities without restriction after your IUI. Please confirm with our office on the day of your IUI, but we usually recommend you and your partner have intercourse later that day as well.
Figure 2: A narrow, flexible catheter is passed through the cervix into the uterus to inject the sperm sample
How successful is IUI?
The chances of success after your IUI are primarily related to your individual age, diagnosis and treatment plan. However, general chances of success (live birth) are around 10%.
How many times do I attempt pregnancy with an IUI?
Each patient and situation is different. However, most couples will achieve success in 3-5 cycles with very few patients becoming pregnant with additional IUI attempts. If you are not pregnant after several IUI cycles you may want to consider IVF or schedule a time to meet with your physician to re-evaluate your treatment plan and options.
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