IUI is a fertility procedure where semen is washed and processed and then placed in the woman’s uterus at the time of ovulation.
Who does IUI Benefit?
IUI can increase the chances of pregnancy if the male partner has a mild case of infertility with a decreased sperm count and/or reduced sperm mobility. For moderate to severe male fertility issues, ICSI is the recommended treatment.
- Cervical mucus: IUI may be the first line of treatment if there are problems with your cervical mucus. The cervical mucus may be too thick or thin, or it may not be present in adequate quantities. In IUI, the sperm is placed directly into the uterus, thus avoiding the need for exposure to the cervical mucus.
- Immune system: Sometimes, the woman’s immune system may “mistake” sperm for invading pathogens. When this happens, her body uses its natural defense mechanisms to destroy the sperm, just as if it were a bacteria or virus.
- Unexplained infertility: This is when there is no obvious cause for you not getting pregnant. IUI may overcome any hidden barrier and increase your odds of conceiving.
- You are using donor sperm.
What is the process?
You may have IUI on its own, or you may take medication to stimulate your egg production before ovulation.
A clinic nurse will perform the IUI when you start ovulating. On the day of the procedure, the male partner provides a sample of semen to be prepared by the lab. This takes about 2 hours. Once the semen is washed, it is put in a thin catheter and then injected into the woman’s uterus. This process takes about 5 to 10 minutes.
The per cycle success rates of IUI is less than that of IVF so if you do not get pregnant after 3-4 cycles, in vitro fertilization may be the next step.