Assisted Conception - IUI
What is IUI?
This is a relatively simple fertility treatment that involves inserting prepared sperm into the uterus (womb) around the time of ovulation (release of an egg) using a very fine tube known as a catheter. IUI is usually the first line treatment for unexplained subfertility. It is necessary that the fallopian tubes are patent (healthy) and the sperm is normal before embarking upon IUI.
The majority of clinicians prefer to stimulate a woman’s egg production by prescribing fertility drugs to be taken during the first part of the monthly cycle. The recruitment and development of follicles, which contain the eggs, is tracked by transvaginal ultrasound scans. When a follicle is mature (greater than 17mm in diameter) a hormone injection is given to ripen and release the egg. Insemination is carried out 34-36 hours later. On the day, the man’s sperm is prepared so to select the best possible sample to be deposited through a sterile catheter into the cavity of the womb. This process takes only a couple of minutes.
Who are the candidates for IUI?
- Couples with unexplained (idiopathic) subfertility of less than 3 years duration
- Couples whose woman’s cervical mucous is altered in amount and texture for the sperm to pass through
- Couples who have sex problems such as impotence, premature ejaculation, vaginismus, etc.
- Couples in whom the woman has minimal/mild endometriosis
- Women undergoing insemination with donor sperm
The success rate measured as live birth rate for IUI using fertility drugs (stimulated IUI) is around 18% per treatment cycle and 30-35% after 5 cycles (known as cumulative live birth rate). The cumulative live birth rate for donor insemination is 60-65% after 6 cycles.
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