What is IUI (Intrauterine insemination)?
Intrauterine insemination can be performed with or without the use of fertility drugs. However, using fertility drugs do increase the number of eggs your body matures and therefore increases the likelihood of conception. On the other hand, your risk of a multiple pregnancy is also increased.
The possibility of conception is 10% to 20% provided the sperm count is good. The woman’s age is also a deciding factor on the success rate, since advanced maternal age results in fewer follicles maturing into eggs.
Why choose IUI?
IUI is generally recommended if there is unexplained infertility and ovulation problems. Other indications are impotence or premature ejaculation in the male partner. In some circumstances one may not have any known fertility problems but may not have a male partner and might want to try for a baby using donated sperm.
What does it mean?
Only if your fallopian tubes are open and healthy can the IUI process begin. Checking the tubes may involve a laparoscopy, an operation in which a dye is injected through your cervix as the pelvis is inspected for blockages with a telescope that has a tiny camera attached (a laparoscope).
Alternatively, you may undergo a hysterosalpingo-contrast sonography (HyCoSy) – which involves using a vaginal ultrasound probe to check the fallopian tubes for blockages – or a hysterosalpingogram, an x-ray of your fallopian tubes.
Procedure – For Women
IUI will be performed between day 12 and 16 of your monthly cycle provided no fertility drugs are used. Day one being the first day of your period. You will have to give blood tests or urine tests to identify when you are about to ovulate.
If fertility drugs are being used then vaginal ultrasound scans are used to track the development of your eggs. A hormone injection is given as soon as an egg is matured; this is to stimulate its release. The sperm will be inserted 36–40 hours later. The doctor will first insert a speculum into your vagina, as in a smear test, to keep your vaginal walls apart. A small catheter (a soft, flexible tube) will then be threaded into your womb via your cervix. The best-quality sperms will be selected and inserted through the catheter. This can result in mild cramping. No admission is required for this procedure.
Procedure – For Men
A semen sample needs to be provided on the day the treatment is to take place. The sperms will be washed to remove the fluid surrounding them and the rapidly moving sperms will be separated out from the slower sperms. Only the fast moving sperm will be placed in a small catheter that will be inserted inside the womb. If donated sperms are used, these will be thawed from frozen.