Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the first assisted reproductive techniques offered to couples diagnosed with infertility. The procedure is quick, discomfort is minimal and the cost is lower compared to in vitro fertilization (IVF)
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE LIKE?
During IUI, sperm, which have been separated from the seminal fluid, are injected into the uterine cavity using a thin catheter. After normal intercourse, nearly 90% of the ejaculated sperm die in the vagina. The goal of IUI is to get as many sperm as possible to reach the egg, thus increasing the chances of fertilization.
IUI can be performed with both partner and donor sperm. Before proceeding with insemination, the patient’s ovulation is monitored by ultrasound and by examining the levels of LH and estradiol on certain days of the menstrual cycle. Additionally, it is possible, but not necessary, to stimulate ovulation with medication such as clomiphene.
Sperm remain viable in the female reproductive system for up to 5 days. The egg can be fertilized up to 24 hours after ovulation. Therefore, the best time to perform the insemination is about 12-24 hours before the woman has ovulated.
The procedure itself lasts 5-10 minutes. The patient sits in a gynecological exam chair. The sperm are injected through a very thin sterile catheter, after which the woman rests for about 30 minutes. Discomfort is minimal, with some comparing the feeling to a pap smear.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER IUI?
Most women feel completely normal after intrauterine insemination. Mild abdominal cramping is possible. You can return to your normal lifestyle as long as you feel well.
If you develop a fever or notice vaginal discharge, contact your treating obstetrician-gynecologist. Two weeks after the procedure, you can take a home pregnancy test, the result of which will be confirmed with a blood test.
WHO IS A SUITABLE CANDIDATE FOR IUI?
Couples who can benefit from IUI are:
Couples with male factor infertility
Presence of antisperm antibodies produced by either partner
Couples with a negative postcoital test
IUI with donor sperm is suitable for:
Women in LGBTQ relationships or those without a partner
Couples in which the man is diagnosed with azoospermia
Couples in which the man is a carrier of genetic mutations with a high risk of transmission to the offspring
A mandatory condition is that the woman has no fallopian tube obstructions and responds to ovulation stimulation. The success of the procedure is age-related and is generally not recommended for women over 40.
To find out if intrauterine insemination is the right approach for you, you can make an appointment for an examination with our reproductive specialists. They will order the necessary tests and create a plan tailored to your case.