24 Apr The Basics of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) from an LA Fertility Center
Intrauterine insemination has been used in domestic animals since the early 1900s. Human artificial insemination was first used for infertility in the 1940s. IUI is usually performed with fertility drugs for the woman. This procedure is a low-tech, cost-effective option.
Candidates for IUI
The IUI procedure is an effective treatment for many causes of infertility. The most significant factor in IUI is female age. Intrauterine insemination does not have good chances for women over 40 years of age. IUI also has reduced success rates for younger women with elevated day 3 FSH levels or other indications of a reduced ovarian reserve. IUI is not used for men with low sperm count, poor sperm movement (motility), or abnormally shaped sperm. Candidates for IUI are:
- Female with mild endometriosis
- Mild male factor infertility
- Female with ovulation problems
- Female with cervical factor infertility
Insemination should be used for a maximum of three months in women who ovulate on their own. It is reasonable to attempt IUI longer for women who have been given drugs to ovulate and those with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Evaluation and Tests before IUI
Before starting an IUI treatment cycle, women must undergo a special x-ray test called a hysterosalpingogram. This test shows if or not at least one fallopian tube is open. The male partner must provide a semen specimen to assess for sperm count, motility, and shape. In additions, both couples are tested for infectious diseases.
The IUI Process
The steps of the intrauterine insemination process are:
- Ovulation stimulation – The woman is given mediations to stimulate the development of multiple eggs, and ovulation is timed with insemination.
- Semen sample – A semen sample is produced by masturbation after a period of abstinence from ejaculation.
- Sperm washing – The semen is “washed” in the laboratory, where the sperm is separated from other semen components. Sperm washing allows for a concentrated sperm volume.
- Insemination – A speculum is placed into the woman’s vagina, and the concentrated sperm are placed in the uterine cavity using a flexible, thin catheter.
IUI Success Rates
Many clinical studies show that intrauterine insemination with medications gives a higher success rate. These fertility drugs either stimulate the development of multiple eggs or increase ovulation. Intrauterine insemination is used for women under age 35, couples who have been trying for two years, men with normal sperm, and couples with unexplained infertility. Success rates are:
- 15% chance of live birth with injectable FSH medication and IUI for up to three cycles
- 10% chance of live birth using Clomid for up to three cycles
- 55% chance of live birth with one IVF cycle
Before trying other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART), a couple should at least try three attempts of intrauterine insemination. For a female age 40 years or older, or a woman with a low ovarian reserve, IVF should be considered after 1-2 failed IUI attempts. In vitro fertilization has a higher success rate than IUI, so many couples choose to move on to this procedure when IUI fails.
Third Party Reproduction
IUI can be done using donor sperm, which is called donor insemination. Use of another man’s sperm is done when the male partner’s sperm quality is so severely damaged that it cannot be used for IUI or in vitro fertilization. Donor insemination is also an option for single women and lesbian couples who wish to have a baby.
With several fertility centers in Irvine, Glendale, Torrance and Corona, Pacific Reproductive Center provides comprehensive IVF and IUI treatments with incredible success rates. Call us Today!