Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves a procedure of separating fast moving sperm from sluggish or non-moving sperm. The selected sperm is then placed into the woman’s womb close to the time of ovulation when the egg is released from the ovary.
IUI can only be done after a confirmation that the fallopian tubes are patent and healthy by a tubal patency test which is a part of the assessment by the fertility clinic.
Indications of IUI include:
- Ovulatory dysfunction
- Mild to moderate endometriosis
- Unexplained infertility
- Sperm donation
- Mild male factors (oligozoospermia, asthenozoospermia, teratozoospermia)
Female partners will undergo ovarian stimulation by daily clomiphene citrate intake or gonadotropin injection in preparation for IUI. When the ovarian follicles reach 18 mm in diameter, hCG injection is given to mature the eggs and to trigger ovulation. The hCG injection is usually given between 9pm to 10pm and IUI is performed the day after tomorrow, usually in the morning “36 to 42 hours post hCG injection.”
PREPARING SPERM FOR IUI
On the day of IUI, the male partner has to produce his semen by masturbation similar to that in semen analysis. He is advised to comply with the instructions as listed below:
- 3 to 5 days of abstinence prior to semen collection
- Collection by masturbation is preferred
- Wash hands with soap and clean with water before semen collection
- Do not use lubricant, soap or perfume during semen collection
- Avoid spillage when semen is collected
- Inform the nurse if your male partner was or is sick or on any medication for the past 2 months
Subsequently sperm washing is done in the Laboratory. During the sperm washing process sperm is separated from the seminal fluid. This procedure enhances the fertilizing capacity of the sperm. This washing and preparation process also concentrates the sperm into a high volume. This high concentration helps the healthiest, most mobile sperm to reach the egg. Thus helps to increase IUI success rates.
INSERTING SPERM DURING IUI
Injecting the prepared sperm into your uterus is quick and virtually painless. This part of the IUI procedure takes only few minutes.
Here is what to expect:
- You will be required to lie down on the exam table as you normally do for a pelvic exam.
- Your doctor will gently insert a very small, thin and flexible catheter into your cervix.
- The washed sperm sample is then injected right into your uterus.
- Some women may experience a temporary, menstrual-like cramping and be advised to rest for a short time before going home.
Urine or serum pregnancy test will be done two weeks after the procedure to confirm pregnancy.