Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is a form of assisted insemination. If done in a clinical setting, the sperm is washed, placed in a catheter and injected into the uterus. The catheter is a long, thin, flexible injection device. Because the insemination is timed to coincide with optimum ovulation days, the cervix is slightly opened allowing easy insertion of the catheter up into the uterus. There is little or no discomfort reported by patients.

After a woman’s ovulation days have been determined or detected using an ovulation testing kit, the IUI is performed approximately six hours either before or after ovulation begins. Sperm can live predictably up to three days “waiting” for ovulation.

If this insemination technique is being used with a drug injection such as hCG, the clinic will have a schedule, based on the doctor’s suggestions, on timing the IUI procedure.

The success rate of IUI is higher when a follicle stimulating drug is used in conjunction with the procedure.

A question often asked by patients is whether or not they can perform the procedure at home. Even from a purely natural perspective, it may not be a good idea. There is always potential for infection when sperm has been exposed to the environment and/or the equipment may not be sterile. And, of course, the most obvious reason not to perform it personally is that it is nearly impossible to inject the sperm high enough to make an appreciable difference in success. It is virtually the same odds as having intercourse. Remember that IUI in the clinical setting deposits the sperm very high into the uterus.

There are a variety of circumstances prompting couples to request an IUI--from gay couples and single adults desiring a family to male infertility issues--typically There are a variety of circumstances prompting couples to request an IUI--from gay couples and single adults desiring a family to male infertility issues--typically low sperm count or motility.

After exhausting all-natural methods to encourage conception, simple IUI is an ART procedure that is a relatively noninvasive next step. Speak to a fertility expert at a local fertility clinic for more answers to your questions about IUI.

Infertile? Get answers from Doctors who care.

Christine Strong, NMD



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