Why Choose IUI?
One method for treating infertility is intrauterine insemination (IUI). This procedure is a very simple one. A concentration of washed sperm is placed straight into the woman's uterus on the day that a woman's ovaries release one or more eggs. This enables the prepared sperm better access to the eggs and it is hoped that this will result in fertilization. All these sperm have to do is swim up the fallopian tubes and penetrate the egg for a pregnancy to occur.
IUI can be timed to coincide with a woman's natural menstrual cycle, or it can be used along with medications that trigger ovulation, for a better success rate. Of course, there are lots of factors that impact on a couple's ability to conceive with IUI.
The typical candidates for intrauterine insemination include couples with:
* Subfertility (mild-level male factor infertility). The male partner's semen analysis, which is one of the earliest steps taking in assessing a couple's fertility status, might show a below-average concentration of sperm, poor motility, and abnormal sperm size or shape. IUI is helpful in such a case since the preparation of the sperm for the IUI procedure involves the separation of high motility normal sperm, from lower quality sperm.
* Cervical factor infertility. A woman's cervix is located at the lower end or neck of the uterus, providing the aperture between vagina and uterus. When a man ejaculates into the vagina, sperm swim into the cervical opening and then on into the woman's uterus. The sperm then swim into the fallopian tubes in search of the waiting egg. The cervical mucus produced around the time of ovulation provides the right environment for the sperm to journey from the vagina to the fallopian tubes.
But if the cervical mucus is thicker than usual, it may provide an obstacle to the traveling sperm. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) helps sperm begin the journey within the uterus, thus skipping the necessity to swim through the cervix. This more direct placement of the sperm preserves a larger number of sperm and makes them more available for fertilization.
* Semen allergy. In rare cases, women can develop an allergy to the proteins contained in their partner's semen. When this happens, a man's ejaculation into the vagina brings on an allergic reaction of redness, burning and swelling everywhere semen has made contact with a woman's skin. While using a condom prevents the allergic reaction, it also rules out pregnancy. IUI can be useful here since the proteins are washed away from the semen before it is inserted.
* Unexplained (idiopathic) infertility. When doctors cannot determine the cause of infertility, IUI is a considered a good first fertility treatment. In some cases, the treatment will be given in tandem with ovulation stimulating medications.
* Donor sperm. People who prefer to use donor sperm to conceive may prefer to do so with the help of IUI. In these cases, the sperm specimens should be obtained from certified laboratories and thawed prior to IUI.