IUI is used to treat many causes of infertility, especially when there is a problem with the sperm, such as low sperm count or low motility (when sperm do not move well). IUI bypasses the cervix, so it is a useful treatment if there is incompatibility between sperm and the cervical mucus.
IUI is also an option when the man is unable to ejaculate inside the woman’s vagina (because of impotence, premature ejaculation, or other medical conditions). This procedure can be performed with either your partner’s sperm or with sperm from a donor.
The female partner is usually prescribed ovulation-stimulating medications a few weeks before an IUI procedure. Then, at a pre-scheduled follow-up visit, the doctor will use ultrasound to monitor the patient’s eggs in order to determine an optimal time to schedule the IUI procedure. IUI is a quick office procedure that only takes a few minutes and involves minimal discomfort.
On the day of the IUI procedure, a semen sample will be washed by the lab to separate the semen from the seminal fluid and the doctor will use a catheter to insert the sperm directly into the uterus. A follow-up pregnancy blood test will be scheduled for a few weeks after the procedure and the doctor will call the patient with the results.
If a couple has the IUI procedure performed each month, success rates may reach as high as 20% per cycle depending on variables such as female age, the reason for infertility, and whether fertility drugs were used, among other variables.
However, while IUI is a less invasive and less expensive option, pregnancy rates from IUI are lower than those from In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).