IUI is a form of artificial insemination in which a doctor injects sperm directly into the uterus – hence the term intra-uterine.
The IUI procedure places sperm in the uterus around the time of ovulation. A catheter is used to place a number of washed sperm directly into the uterus.
The end result is as many sperm as possible within reach of the fallopian tubes where they will have a higher chance of fertilizing an egg.
When is IUI used?
An IUI procedure is a good option for infertility that has continued for 3-12 months. Ideal timing and proximity between sperm and an egg are what IUI is best at achieving.
In addition, the female partner should have open fallopian tubes, normal ovulation (or respond adequately to fertility drugs), and a normal uterine cavity.
IUI does not involve the manipulation of a woman’s eggs, so it is more straightforward and less expensive than other infertility treatments that use assisted reproductive technology.
What is the IUI Role for Sperm?
Using donor sperm, it also can circumvent male-factor infertility. Otherwise, because IUI relies on the natural ability of sperm to fertilize an egg in the reproductive tract, it is not a suitable procedure for patients who have severe male factor infertility.
The sperm is always washed prior to IUI to concentrate the individual sperm cells from the seminal fluid to increase the chances of conception and avoid rejection from the uterus.
What Is the IUI Success Rate?
IUI is most successful when used in conjunction with fertility drugs such as clomiphene citrate or injectable gonadotropins. These medications bypass the usual female hormonal pathways and stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one follicle per month.
If IUI does not result in a viable pregnancy, the treatment can be done repeatedly.
A woman’s age is the main factor in an IUI cycle’s success rate. With medication to boost fertility, even women age 38-39 often have a viable pregnancy within two cycles.
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Oregon Reproductive Medicine provides full diagnosis, evaluation, and treatments for infertility.
You can find out more about what IUI may do for your situation at a free informational seminar, where doctors from Oregon Reproductive Medicine will answer all your questions and discuss the promising infertility treatments now available to couples.