Also known as AI (Artificial Insemination), IUI is a fertility treatment option for unexplained infertility, for minor sperm issues, and when using donor sperm.
A washed and concentrated sample of sperm is placed, via a soft catheter, directly into the uterus. This minimises the distance for the sperm to travel to meet the egg. This is timed to occur on the day the woman ovulates – either naturally, or more commonly with ovulation induction. The insemination itself is a very simple procedure, not unlike a pap smear.
There is no sedation required, and takes approximately 15 minutes. For this procedure to have a chance of success, fallopian tubes need to be open, and I would usually recommend that investigations be done to confirm this prior to insemination.
During this procedure we are still relying on nature. We are simply ensuring that timing is as accurate as possible, but we are still only hoping that egg and sperm meet, that fertilisation occurs, that good embryo development is achieved, and that the embryo implants into the uterus. The chance of success with this procedure is approximately 15%, but this differs depending on the woman’s age, and reason for insemination.