Intrauterine Insemination – IUI
The objective of IUI is to place highly motile sperm into the female’s uterus, and thereby encourage fertilization. Prior to IUI, sperm are first washed, concentrated and placed in a sterile medium. The sperm are then injected in a very small volume of culture medium directly into the uterus.
Which Couples Benefit from IUI?
In an IUI cycle sperm cells separated from the liquid portion of the semen are inseminated directly into the uterus; therefore, it is important that the female has no other obvious major fertility issues. The initial work up should ideally show that the female is ovulating normally, has open fallopian tubes, and has a normal uterine cavity. Infertility tests are often normal in both partners, since IUI has been found useful in couples with no obvious cause of infertility by IUI doctors South Florida. IUI is also effective in women with ovulatory disorders, provided they respond adequately to ovulation induction drugs. In such cases ovulation is stimulated by a course of hormone treatment and the IUI is timed to take place around the day of ovulation. Intrauterine insemination can be effective in a variety of cases, and is the preferred method in couples with or without ovulatory disorder. Because IUI relies on the natural ability of sperm to fertilize an egg within the reproductive tract, it is important that the initial male’s fertility evaluation (Comprehensive Semen Analysis), confirms reasonable sperm numbers, movement, and shape. There is some success with IUI in cases where the female partner has mild endometriosis in the absence of mechanical distortion of the pelvic structures. Endometriosis is a very common disorder, particularly in women in their thirties who have had no children, and it may be associated with as many as one-in-four cases of infertility. Results with IUI are sub-optimal in cases where the male has low sperm counts of poor sperm parameters. Similarly, women with severely damaged or blocked tubes will not benefit from IUI.
Steps In IUI Treatment
- Stimulation medication.
- Monitoring, follicle measurement, and medication adjustment
- Sperm is provided, washed, and inseminated
- Pregnancy testing and early ultrasound monitoring
How IUI Works
The best results are achieved when IUI is coupled with ovulation induction using fertility medications. Because fertility drugs can produce several eggs, close monitoring is important during treatment in order to ensure that any side effects and/or the risk of multiple pregnancy are reduced. Monitoring is performed by measuring estrogen levels in blood and by tracking the development of follicles through ultrasound. If too many follicles develop, too many eggs may be released and thus, increase the risk of multiple pregnancy; therefore, the usual goal with IUI is to generate at most two to three eggs. When two or more follicles have reached mature size, ovulation is induced with a hormone injection (hCG). Around the time of ovulation, one or two sperm samples are collected by the male, processed by the laboratory and placed into the uterus of the female partner with a sterile catheter. The procedure is painless and a pregnancy test is scheduled soon after.