Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as “artificial insemination,” is the process of placing sperm in a woman’s uterus. As this procedure place the sperm closer to the fallopian tube, it bypasses the vagina and cervix, which both have harsh environments for sperm. Since fertilization of the egg by the sperm should occur in the fallopian tube, this increases the overall chance of pregnancy.
What are the steps in IUI?
First, the healthy sperm are collected, washed and prepared in the lab. The sperm are then placed into a medium that promotes fertility. Finally, a small catheter is used to transfer the sperm into the uterus.
Who should use IUI?
IUI has been shown to offset mild male factor infertility and improve pregnancy chances in cases of unexplained infertility. It is also frequently used in combination with ovulation induction to maximize the benefits of both methods.
Intrauterine insemination is used most often in couples who have:
- Mild male factor infertility (subfertility): Men with slightly low motile sperm counts.
- Donor sperm: People requiring donor sperm to conceive
- Couple with unexplained infertility: IUI is often performed as a first line treatment for unexplained infertility, usually with ovulation-inducing medications.
- Endometriosis related infertility: IUI is often the first treatment approach for endometriosis related infertility.
- Cervical factor infertility: When the cervical mucus is too thick, or cervix scarring may impede the sperm’s journey.
- Ovulatory factor infertility: People who have infertility caused by problems with ovulation, including an absence of ovulation or a reduced number of eggs
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