What is IUI? Who can benefit from IUI? Find out more here.
During the IUI process, the highest quality sperm is selected and injected into the uterus where they are left to fertilise the eggs naturally. IVF in comparison removes the eggs from the body and has them fertilised in a lab. This means that IUI is a less invasive procedure, also involving fewer drugs than IVF. This makes it considerably less expensive.
IUI is most commonly used when a partner has a low sperm count or decreased sperm motility. However, it can also be the preferred fertility treatment for any of the following conditions:
Typically, the process of IUI is simple. The following steps outline a single cycle of IUI following the pathway we carry out here at IVI.
A sperm sample will be required by the laboratory several hours before insemination. The sperm is prepared by selecting those with the best motility for the procedure. To choose the correct sperm, the motile sperm is separated from the immotile in a centrifuge.
The insemination stage of the IUI procedure is an experience similar to that of a smear test. A speculum is inserted into the vagina, and a catheter is passed through the cervix and into the uterus.
During IUI treatment, a series of 3 or 4 transvaginal ultrasound scans are performed to monitor the growth and development of the follicles (follicles are fluid-filled sacs in which an egg will develop). Once the follicle has reached optimum size an injection of hCG is administered to mature the egg and time ovulation. This injection will be given approximately 24 – 36 hours before insemination takes place.
This step is optional for patients. However, ovarian stimulation has been known to increase the chances of success by producing more than one egg to be fertilised. Daily injections are given for around 10 days. For artificial insemination to be successful, it is essential that at least one of the Fallopian tubes is patent.