Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Procedure
WHAT IS IUI
During intrauterine insemination (IUI), sperm are washed in a special solution that supports their health and facilitates the separation of the fast-moving sperm from the sluggish or non-moving sperm. The rapid sperm are concentrated into a small volume and are placed directly into the uterus when a woman is most fertile, immediately prior to and during ovulation.
Since prepared sperm are placed directly into the uterus, IUI avoids exposure of the sperm to the cervical mucus. IUI injection is important in women with poor cervical mucus or those who have antisperm antibodies. Poor cervical mucus can prevent the sperm from swimming from the vagina to the uterus and antisperm antibodies can “kill” or incapacitate sperm.
People who benefit from IUI include:
- Couples with no known cause of infertility
- Couples in which the male has mild to moderate decreased semen quality
- Women with ovulatory disorders who respond well to fertility medication
- Women with mild endometriosis
- Women using donor sperm
- Couples who have infrequent intercourse
THE IUI PROCESS
Over the years one of the common frustrations women have voiced is that they wish they had known that their eggs were aging at a faster rate than normal. With the advancements in egg freezing using an exciting new technique called vitrification (flash-freezing method), more women would benefit from knowing the status of their egg quality as early as feasible. Women whose eggs are still viable can consider delaying starting their families depending on their age. Women whose eggs have a decrease in quality or quantity may consider preserving their fertility by freezing eggs or embryos before further compromise occurs based on age or other medical factors. CCRM was one of the earliest programs to adopt the vitrification process in the United States.
FAMILY HISTORY OF INFERTILITY
During IUI, women can expect:
- The possible use of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovulation of more than one oocyte.
- Ovulation monitoring with a combination of at-home (home ovulation predictor kits) and clinic (ultrasound, blood tests) techniques.
- Monitoring by the clinic for any adverse effects of fertility drugs.
- A hormone injection to time ovulation.
The man’s role is to provide a semen sample on the morning of insemination. The semen sample is prepared and then inserted through the cervix and into the uterus by a thin plastic catheter. The procedure takes place in the clinic and is relatively painless.
CCRM’s fertility specialists will guide patients who may benefit by IUI through the process. When discussing the possibility with you, we will comprehensively review IUI success rates, donor IUI, and how IUI is performed.
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