An Introduction to IntraUterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination is a type of assisted reproductive technology and involves implanting sperm from the partner or a donor into the uterus of a female patient. This technique is frequently used in livestock, but it is also applicable in humans.

Who Can Get Intrauterine Insemination?

The intrauterine insemination is recommended for couples that are diagnosed as fertile but have trouble conceiving. The procedure is also recommended if the male partner has a problem (i.e. premature ejaculation).

The intrauterine insemination is also used if the male partner is not fertile and the couple decides to get the sperm from a donor. Intrauterine insemination may also be a viable option for lesbian couples that are considering having a baby and need sperm from a donor.

Before the Procedure

Before the procedure, both the sperm and the female receiver will have to prepare. The sperm will have to be collected and kept frozen until the woman decides to get the intrauterine insemination procedure. The sperm may be collected from the male partner or from an anonymous donor, which will be tested prior to donating the sperm, to ensure he has no genetic diseases or other sexually transmitted diseases. When the sperm will be used, it will also have to be washed, which will increase the pregnancy success rates.

The woman that will benefit from the intrauterine insemination will have to monitor her menstrual cycle, as there are only a few days during the month she can get pregnant. The fertility doctor may also prescribe a few vitamins that will stimulate ovulation. The ovulation period may be established through:

  • Blood tests
  • Ovulation kits
  • Ultrasounds
  • Taking the basal temperature
  • Observing the changes in the consistency of the vaginal mucus

Once the ovulation happens and the egg is released, it may only be fertilized during the following 12 hours.

During the Procedure

During the intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure, only the woman will have to be present. The sperm will be placed into the uterus of the patient. A needleless syringe with an attached tube will be used to insert the sperm. Alternatively, a catheter may be used.

After the intrauterine insemination, the woman will have to wait for 30 minutes to increase the chances of fertilization. The procedure doesn’t require anesthesia.

Intrauterine Insemination Success Rates

The success rates of intrauterine insemination may vary according to different factors including:

  • The age of the patient
  • The health of the patient
  • The quality of the sperm
  • The efficiency of the application of the sperm

In some cases, the success rates of IUI are not higher than the success rates of pregnancy resulting from unassisted reproduction.

On average, the success rates of IUI are between 12 to 20% when used during a single menstrual cycle. However, fertility doctors recommend a treatment of 6 consecutive IUI procedures to increase the success rates. The success rates in 6 menstrual cycles are between 55% and 75%.