Intrauterine insemination (IUI)


Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a commonly used form of assisted fertility treatment. The goal of IUI is to increase the chance that the sperm will reach and fertilise an egg, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy. IUI is a fertility treatment that involves injecting sperm directly into the womb. IUI can be performed using the sperm of a partner or a donor and is suitable for treating a wide range of fertility problems.

Who is IUI treatment recommended for?

  • People who need donated sperm but have no female fertility problems, including same sex couples and single women.

  • Couples where there is a mild male factor fertility issue such as a slightly reduced sperm count or motility, may benefit from IUI.

  • Couples who are unable (or would find it very difficult) to have vaginal intercourse. This could be due to a physical disability or psychosexual problem.

IUI using donor sperm

Donor sperm can be used for intrauterine insemination. Couples may choose to use donor sperm in certain situations:

  • Men who have no sperm in the ejaculate.

  • Single women.

  • Same-sex couples.

  • Couples for whom there is a severe problem with the sperm, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has been recommended, but the couple do not wish to undergo IVF and ICSI.

Who is IUI not recommended for?

IUI is not recommended for the following patients:

  • Women who have severe disease of the fallopian tubes.

  • Women with moderate to severe endometriosis.

  • Women with a history of pelvic infections.

  • Males with a very low sperm count or poor quality sperm.

If you are unsure whether the above apply to you or not, speak to one of our specialists today. We can advise whether or not IUI would be the best fertility treatment for your requirements.

What’s the difference between IUI and IVF?

Many people assume that IUI is the same as IVF. However, this is not the case. IUI is known to be less invasive than an IVF cycle and, for some people, can often be the more popular of the two treatments. During the IUI process, the highest quality sperm are selected and injected directly into the uterus.

In comparison, IVF involves collecting the eggs and sperm, fertilising them in a laboratory and then transferring the resulting embryos into the uterus. IUI, in comparison, allows the body to do more on its own. Therefore, many people consider it to be a more natural form of fertility treatment.

IUI success rates

As with any fertility treatment, the success rate of IUI depends on many factors. Even so, IUI success rates tend to be around one-third of those for IVF. As with any fertility treatment, a woman’s age plays a big part in conception success. The younger a woman is, the higher her chances of getting pregnant. However, IUI success rates will differ from person to person. We can discuss the likelihood of pregnancy success for you based on your individualised treatment plan when you book a consultation with us today.

The IUI process, a step by step guide into IUI treatment.

The IUI process below outlines the average steps in a single cycle of IUI treatment. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that you may be given different drugs for your treatment, depending on what is best for you.

Step 1. Check the fallopian tubes

The first step before commencing the IUI process is to have a tubal assessment. During this assessment, we will check that your fallopian tubes are open and healthy using a procedure called a HyCoSy. This involves a specialised vaginal ultrasound to detect whether dye passes through the fallopian tubes. Occasionally, the tubes will be assessed in other ways, such as through keyhole surgery or the use of a specialised X-ray called a hysterosalpingogram.

Step 2. Fertility drugs

We may recommend that you take fertility drugs to help boost your egg production. Occasionally, you can have IUI treatment as part of your normal menstrual cycle.

Step 3. Scans

If you are taking fertility drugs, we will monitor you regularly with ultrasound scans to check how many follicles are developing.

Step 4. Hormone injection

Shortly before the insemination, you will be given a hormone injection called the trigger injection. This injection will help the final phase of egg maturation and will result in the egg being released, ready to travel down the fallopian tube to meet the sperm.

Step 5. Insemination

Sperm are washed and prepared, and then the best quality sperm are selected and injected into the uterus. This process only takes a few minutes and is relatively pain free.

Step 6. Pregnancy test

After insemination, we will give you a date to carry out your pregnancy test, and this will be around two weeks after insemination. Try not to take a pregnancy test any earlier than this as the result could be misleading.

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