A type of artificial insemination — is a procedure for treating infertility. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves placing washed sperm inside the woman’s uterus using an IUI catheter to facilitate fertilization. If unwashed semen is used, it may cause uterine cramping, expelling the semen and causing pain, due to the content of prostaglandins. (Prostaglandins are also the compounds responsible for causing the myometrium to contract and expel the menses from the uterus, during menstruation).
It is a less invasive, painless, easy OPD procedure compared to in vitro fertilization. It requires no sedation or anesthesia. It increases the chances of pregnancy as the semen quality is improved by washing, the quality of the egg is improved by medicine & the timing of insemination is set with the ovulation.
The ovaries are gently stimulated with clomiphene citrate tablets either alone or with low-dose hormone injections followed by ultrasound monitoring until the follicles are mature when the hCG trigger is given. The aim is to stimulate the release of one or two eggs only. One day of ovulation can be predicted, insemination will be timed to within 24 hrs. Unlike IVF or test-tube babies, precise timing is not critical.
The most common reasons for IUI are a low sperm count or decreased sperm motility. However, IUI may be selected as a fertility treatment for any of the following conditions as well:
Insemination takes only a few minutes, but you may be on fertility drugs for about a week before you ovulate. Depending on the cause of the fertility problem, the patient may have three or four IUI cycles before getting pregnant or trying another treatment, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Resting on the table for fifteen minutes after an IUI is optimal for the woman to increase the pregnancy rate.
Some doctors are now advising women in their late 30s and older to try IVF even sooner – either as a first-line treatment or after just one or two unsuccessful IUI cycles.
Success rates depend on a couple’s fertility problem and age. Studies have found that for couples with unexplained infertility, the pregnancy rate for each natural cycle is about 4 to 5 percent while in cycles where fertility drugs and artificial insemination were combined, the pregnancy rate was 8 percent to 17 percent.