What Is Intrauterine Insemination

What Is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?

When it comes to fertility treatments, things can be confusing. With long scientific names and complicated explanations, it can be very difficult to figure out which treatment might be right for you. So let’s take a look at one of the options, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), and what exactly it is.

What Is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?

IUI is a fertility treatment where sperm are placed directly into the uterus. The goal here is to increase the number of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes, and so improve chances of fertilisation occurring. Also known as Artificial Insemination, IUI is one of the most popular fertility treatments for women.

When Is IUI Used?

Intrauterine Insemination is most commonly used in cases with a low sperm count or issues with sperm mobility, or if a couple is using donor sperm. However, it can also be used in response to the following conditions:

  • Mild cases of endometriosis
  • Ovulation issues
  • Physical problems preventing sperm from entering uterus
  • Mucus issues

So How Does It Work?

The method behind Intrauterine Insemination is actually pretty simple: healthy sperm cells are deposited directly into the uterus around ovulation. This means the sperm don’t need to travel as far to reach the egg, which increases your chances of getting pregnant!

Before you undergo IUI, you may be given medicines to help your eggs mature or hormones to help you ovulate. By timing the procedure around your ovulation, the chances of your egg being successfully fertilised go up.

During the IUI procedure, the doctor will pass a narrow tube through your cervix and into your uterus. This tube delivers the sperm to the uterus.

The procedure is simple, and it’s quick too! Often only taking 5-10 minutes to be completed, Intrauterine Insemination is done without anaesthesia and, in most cases, is painless. That said, you may experience some mild cramps – this is perfectly normal.

What’s The Success Rate?

So now we get to some numbers. Despite the fact that Intrauterine Insemination is so popular, it doesn’t always work. The success rate sits between 5 and 20%, depending on a variety of factors. To improve your chances, you’ll want to take the medicines and hormones mentioned above; this can have a success rate twice as high as IUI without the medication.

You may need to undergo multiple rounds of IUI, and every round increases your chances of getting pregnant.

Who Can Undergo IUI?

While IUI is a very popular fertility treatment, it isn’t an option for everyone. Intrauterine Insemination isn’t recommended in the following scenarios:

  • Major endometriosis
  • Damaged fallopian tubes
  • History of pelvic infections
  • Low sperm-count
  • Significant problems with sperm motility

Under these circumstances, IUI is unlikely to work and so other methods will need to be explored.

That said, IUI can be a great option for:

  • couples with unexplained fertility issues
  • couples with mild male fertility issues
  • women with hostile cervical mucus
  • same-sex couples (either with themselves or a surrogate)
  • single mothers

Ultimately, though, you’ll need to talk to your doctor to decide whether or not Intrauterine Insemination is right for you.

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