It is a technique where a preparation of most healthy and progressive motile sperm is placed through the cervix into the uterine cavity around the time of ovulation.
IUI is generally the first line of treatment when medication and timed intercourse does not succeed. IUI is a relatively noninvasive and less-expensive fertility treatment compared to more invasive and costly treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). IUI can be performed using a male partner’s sperm or donor sperm. IUI is most commonly used in these scenarios:
- with mild to moderate decrease in sperm count and/or motility,
- anatomical or ejaculatory dysfunction
- mild endometriosis
- for some couples who don't have any apparent cause for infertility (unexplainedinfertility).
For women who do not ovulate regularly, ovulation induction maybe combined with IUI.
- B/ltubal block
- Very severe oligoasthenospermia
- Severe endometriosis
- Poor ovarian reserve
- Multiple infertility etiologies
Procedure of IUI for Infertility Treatment
How Does IUI work?
Here is a detailed timeline of the IUI process:
Production of eggs
Tracking the eggs
Picking and washing the sperm
Inseminating the patient
Testing for success
Advantages and Disadvantages of IUI
- The procedure is more ‘natural’, which means that the sperm is inseminated into the woman’s body and left to fuse with the egg in a natural way
- IUI is less invasive than other procedures like IVF
- It costs much less as well
- In case of male fertility problems, IUI can work very well
- The success rate of IUI is much lower as compared to IVF
- This procedure is not an option for women above the age of 40
- IUI presents a high probability of conceiving and delivering two or more babies, which might be a high-risk pregnancy
- One may have to go through several cycles for success
Apart from mild pain and spotting on the day of an IUI, there are no major complications.
Around five to ten percent of the patients have multiple (generally twin) pregnancies.
Sometimes, a patient may respond excessively to medications and produce more eggs, putting her at risk for multiple pregnancies and a condition called Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS).
Infection is a very rare complication.
Inproperly selected patients, ovulation induction and IUI should be planned for about 3 to 4 cycles. This protocol yields a pregnancy rate of 10% to 12% per cycle and a cumulative pregnancy rate of about 25% to 30% at the end of 3 to 4 cycles.
Favorable patient characteristic for success are young female partner, short duration of infertility and cause of infertility.