Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a simple and cost effective fertility treatment.In this procedure healthy sperm is placed into a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating. This procedure is used for couples with unexplained infertility, minimal male factor infertility, and women with cervical mucus problems. IUI success is improved when it is done in conjunction with ovulation-stimulating drugs. It can be performed using the husband’s sperm or donor sperm. Before the procedure, the woman should be evaluated for any hormonal imbalance, infection or any structural problems.
Factors for a successful IUI programme :
- Healthy sperm (Sperm count, motility and morphology should be good)
- Timing of IUI – for a healthy pregnancy the sperm and egg should meet within 24 hrs. of ovulation. An aged or degenerated egg cannot yield a healthy pregnancy.
- Fallopian tubes should not have any blockage or obstruction.
- Similarly, the quality of egg should be good, an egg with thick covering(zona) does not allow sperm to enter inside the egg.
- The uterus should be prepared well to receive the embryo otherwise implantation does not happen.
When is IUI used?
The most common conditions where IUI is recommended :
- Low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility.
- Unexplained infertility
- A hostile cervical condition, including cervical mucus problems
- Cervical scar tissue from past procedures which may hinder the sperms’ ability to enter the uterus
- Ejaculation dysfunction
Success rate in IUI :
The success of IUI depends on several factors. 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.
Pregnancy rate :
The pregnancy or success rates for artificial insemination are 10 to 15% per menstrual cycle using ICI, and 15–20% per cycle for IUI. In IUI, about 60 to 70% have achieved pregnancy after 6 cycles.
However, these pregnancy rates may be very misleading, since many factors, including the age and health of the recipient, have to be included to give a meaningful answer, e.g. definition of success and calculation of the total population.For couples with unexplained infertility, unstimulated IUI is no more effective than natural means of conception