What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?
Sometimes nature needs help to start a pregnancy - and the doctor can do this by giving the sperm a piggy back ride through a fine tube into the body. This procedure is called intrauterine insemination ( IUI) or artificial insemination with husband’s sperm (AIH) - and effectively, the doctor is giving nature a helping hand by increasing the chances of the egg and sperm meeting.
When is IUI used for treating Infertility?
IUI is useful when:
- The woman has a cervical mucus problem - for example, it maybe scanty or maybe hostile to the sperm. With an intrauterine insemination (IUI) the sperm bypass her cervix and enter the uterine cavity directly.
- The man has antibodies to his own sperm. The "good" sperm which have not been affected by the antibodies are separated in the laboratory and used for IUI.
- If the man cannot ejaculate into his partner's vagina. This is usually because of psychologic problems such as impotence (inability to get and maintain an erection) and vaginismus ( an involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles so that vaginal penetration is not possible); or anatomic problems of the penis, such as uncorrected hypospadias; or if he is paraplegic.
- The man suffers from retrograde ejaculation in which the semen goes backward into the bladder instead of coming out of the penis.
- For unexplained infertility, since the technique of IUI increases the chances of the eggs and sperm meeting.
- If the husband is away from the wife for long stretches of time (for example, husbands who work on ships or work abroad), his sperm can be frozen and stored in a sperm bank and used to inseminate his wife even in his absence.
How is the IUI timed?
Timing the IUI is very important - it must be done during the "fertile period" when the egg is in the fallopian tube. It is important to superovulate the wife at the same time ( with clomid or HMG injections) , so that she produces more than one egg. Superovulation increases her fertility potential as well, thus increasing the chances of conception by improving the chances of the eggs and sperm meeting. The IUI is done either when ovulation is imminent or just after.
No special bed rest is required after the IUI. Some doctors may repeat the insemination after 24 hours. We usually encourage our patients to have intercourse on the night of the IUI, and for 2-3 days after this as well, to maximize the chances of the sperm and egg meeting. Sucess Rate of IUI is 30%-40%