Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the simpler treatments and is usually the first step in infertility treatment for couples with unexplained infertility, mild male factor infertility, a cervical factor and irregular or absent ovulation.
What Is IUI?
You may have heard intrauterine insemination referred to before as “artificial insemination.” IUI may be recommended in cases where donor sperm is needed. IUI involves placing sperm that have been washed and concentrated directly inside the woman’s uterus.
This procedure increases the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes, thereby increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy. Before a decision is made about whether or not IUI is right for you, the physicians of Western Fertility Institute will perform standard infertility testing.
Who Is a Candidate for Artificial Insemination?
You may want to consider IUI if you have had difficulty conceiving in the past. Low sperm count, thick cervix mucus or scar tissue, and ejaculation issues lead many couples to consider artificial insemination using donor sperm. Lesbian couples may also look at IUI as an option for their pregnancy.
Some women may not find IUI to be the best fit for their circumstances, however. If you have a block in your fallopian tubes or suffer from endometriosis, then you will not make a good candidate for artificial insemination.
The treatment works best for women who have normal ovarian reserve. Women with low ovarian reserve or whose eggs are of poor quality may struggle to conceive through IUI. Finally, we also take into account a woman’s age. If you are over 40, you have less of a chance of conceiving, and we may recommend a different method to give you a higher likelihood of the results you desire.
How Does IUI Work?
The first step in the artificial insemination process is performing a series of tests. We will do a pelvic ultrasound and semen analysis to make sure IUI will be the most effective treatment in your case.
Next we will prescribe medication to stimulate ovulation, which ups your chances of successful conception through IUI. Then we harvest the semen, either from a donor or the patient. We “wash” the semen, which means preparing it so the higher-quality, more active sperm are more abundant.
We monitor the intended mother’s ovulation to determine the best time to perform the procedure. When she ovulates, we insert a long tube into the uterus and introduce the sperm through that tube. There is usually no pain during this short process, which can take less than five minutes. Two weeks after the IUI, the woman will take a pregnancy test. If it is negative, another test will be performed in a couple weeks, or the woman can come to our office for a blood pregnancy test.
Is Artificial Insemination the Best Option for You?
When you visit our Los Angeles office, we will consult with you extensively to determine the best, individualized fertility choice for you and your family. We offer many options, and we want you to find the one you are most comfortable with that gives you the best chance for conception.
Many people like IUI for its simplicity. The actual procedure takes only minutes, and you do not need to do a lot to prepare for it. Couples struggling with low sperm motility may find artificial insemination especially appealing, as the sperm are implanted directly in the uterus and do not have to swim anywhere else. IUI can assist you in starting or completing the family you have long dreamed of having.