When considering assisted fertility options, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is recommended early on in the process. This is because it’s minimally invasive and doesn’t always require additional hormone therapies. This treatment is sometimes referred to as Artificial Insemination (AI). The process is incredibly well choreographed, as timing is everything here. Routine ovary scans, cycle mapping, planned collection of fresh or thawed sperm, and perfectly timed insemination is all part of the process.
What is IUI?
The procedure involves inserting sperm directly into the uterus at the time of ovulation. Consider this method like a very clean and efficient version of having unprotected sex - where the sperm gets a head start on getting to the egg. Before the insemination, the sperm is washed and prepared, with the best quality sperm used. This is often performed in conjunction with fertility stimulants to influence ovulation. It is important to know the overall success rates of IUI are lower than the success rates of IVF.
Consider this method like a very clean and efficient version of having unprotected sex
Who is IUI recommended for?
This treatment may be recommended if:
- You're experiencing unexplained infertility
- You're experiencing hostile cervical mucous
- For those trying to fall pregnant with donor or frozen sperm
- Male factor infertility or low sperm quality
What’s the IUI process?
Step 1: Ovulation induction
Hormone treatment (oral medication or daily injections) is prescribed to stimulate ovulation. This is administered at home.
Step 2: Semen sample
The fertility clinic collects a semen sample from your partner or donor. This is analysed, and the best quality sperm is prepared for insemination.
Step 3: The insemination
The procedure is timed depending on your cycle, and inserted directly into the uterus. Specialists will prescribe progesterone to support the final stage of your cycle.
Step 4: Results
Your specialists will indicate the best time to take a pregnancy test. This is done as a blood test.
What can I expect to feel?
Symptoms from the actual insertion are relatively mild compared to other ART options, and most women report no pain. Some women however note mild cramping and spotting after the procedure due to the cervix’s dilation during the insertion of the sperm.