Intrauterine insemination is a procedure for treating infertility where optimised sperm samples are inserted directly inside the uterus. This helps healthy sperm to get closer to the ovum/egg. This procedure is usually carried out during the time of ovulation. Intrauterine insemination is a low-tech procedure which makes it less costly compared to other fertility treatment procedures like IVF. This procedure helps increase the chance of pregnancy but there is no guarantee that IUI will work for everyone due to different factors.
Today, I will focus more on scenarios when IUI is the best choice for treating infertility.
Intrauterine insemination can be used for the following conditions:-
- For those couples who experience unexplained infertility. IUI can be performed as the first form of treatment alongside ovulation inducing medications.
- For women with endometriosis related infertility, IUI can be performed as well with ovulation inducing medication to obtain a good quality ovum.
- Male factor infertility. For patients who have done semen analysis and results show below average sperm concentration, weak motility of sperm, abnormalities in sperm size and shape, IUI is one of the treatments to help get a partner pregnant. With IUI procedure, it can help to separate highly motile and normal sperm from those of lower quality. By using the better-quality sperm, it helps to increase the chance of pregnancy.
- Cervical factor infertility. Mucus produced by the cervix during ovulation periods will provide an ideal environment for sperm to travel from vagina to the fallopian tubes. However, in some patients, the cervical mucus is too thick therefore blocking the sperm’s journey. IUI will bypass the cervix and deposit sperm directly into the uterus. IUI will help to increase the number of sperm to meet with the ovum and indirectly increase the chances of fertilization.
- Ovulatory factor infertility: IUI may also be performed with women who have fertility issues due to ovulation problems. This procedure can help to increase the chance of pregnancy due to reduced ovum.
- Semen allergy: There are some women who have an allergy to proteins in semen. Those who have an allergy to the protein in semen will complain of redness, burning and swelling in the vagina after ejaculation. This can be prevented by using condoms during sexual intercourse. Thus, IUI is the best choice to get pregnant in this case because the IUI procedure requires removal of many of the proteins in semen before sperm is inserted and sent to the uterus.
- Donor sperm: For those women who want to get pregnant from donor sperm, IUI is the most commonly used method to achieve pregnancy.
In conclusion, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the best choices to treat infertility caused by conditions above. If the IUI procedure is not successful the first time, IUI can be tried again for another three to six months to maximize the chances of getting pregnant before moving on to the next treatment option for example in-vitro fertilization (IVF) which is a more complex and expensive procedure.