Intra Uterine Insemination

A type of artificial insemination - is a procedure for treating infertility. Sperm that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly in your uterus around the time your ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized.

Intra Uternie

Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination procedure for the treatment of infertility. Also called alternative insemination or artificial insemination, IUI works by putting sperm cells directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation, thus helping the sperm get closer to the egg and fertilise it in the fallopian tube. This process helps to cut down on the time and distance the sperm has to travel. The expected outcome of intrauterine insemination is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tube and fertilise a waiting egg, thus resulting in pregnancy. Depending on the reasons for infertility, IUI can be coordinated with your normal cycle or with fertility medications.

IUI As Treatment

IUI can be performed by using either a male partner's sperm or donor sperm. IUI is most commonly used in the following scenarios:

  • Unexplained infertility
  • Mild endometriosis
  • Issues with the cervix or cervical mucus
  • Decreased sperm motility
  • Issues with ejaculation or erection
  • A single woman wishing to conceive (donor insemination)
  • Same-sex couples wishing to conceive (donor insemination)
  • A couple wanting to avoid passing on a genetic defect from the male partner to the child (donor insemination)

How is it done?

The cervix in females naturally limits the number of sperm that enter the uterus. This means that only a small percentage of the sperm in the ejaculate actually make their way into the fallopian tubes. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure that places sperm past the cervix and in a woman's uterus around the time of ovulation. This makes the passage to the fallopian tubes much shorter, and there is a better chance that more sperms will encounter the egg. The goal of this procedure is to improve a woman's chance of getting pregnant.

Before the insemination procedure, fertility medicines that stimulate ovulation are sometimes used. In such a case, careful monitoring will be necessary to determine when the eggs are mature. Semen is also collected and it goes through a process called “sperm washing”, which helps in the collection of a concentrated amount of healthy sperms from the semen. The seminal fluid which can cause severe cramping in women, is also removed. The entire process of washing the sperm can take upto 2 hours to complete.

During the procedure, the doctor or nurse attaches a vial containing a sample of healthy sperms to the end of a long, thin, flexible catheter, and inserts it into the vagina, through the cervical opening and into the uterus. The sperm sample is pushed through the tube and into the uterus, after which the catheter is removed. Pregnancy happens if a sperm fertilises the egg, and the fertilised egg implants in the lining of the uterus.

Benefits Of IUI

IUI is a widely used treatment option because it is a minimally invasive, lower-cost alternative to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). The success of the procedure will vary depending on the underlying cause of the infertility. IUI works best in patients with unexplained infertility, women with a cervix that limits the passage of sperm, and men who are unable to ejaculate effectively. It does not work as well for men who produce few sperm or have severe abnormalities with their sperm, nor women who have severe fallopian tube disease, moderate to severe endometriosis, or a history of pelvic infections.