What is intrauterine insemination?
Intrauterine insemination is a procedure that allows prepared sperm to be introduced into the womb. It is less invasive than IVF. In the laboratory a sample of sperm is processed to separate the motile sperm from the immotile sperm. This allows us to concentrate the motile sperm ready for the insemination procedure. The prepared sperm are then placed into the woman’s womb near the time of ovulation. This fertility method is designed to help women that are struggling to conceive naturally.
Is intrauterine insemination right for me?
Intrauterine insemination may be right for you if:
- You are struggling to conceive naturally
- You suffer from ovulation problems
- Your infertility is unexplained
- You suffer from cervical mucous hostility
- You suffer from mild endometriosis (a condition where the lining of the womb grows outside the womb)
- You have mild antisperm antibodies (these occur when the body becomes sensitised to sperm, causing an immune system response that destroys the sperm)
- You are trying to conceive through donated sperm
To get a clearer idea of whether you are a good candidate for intrauterine insemination, please discuss suitability with your Consultant.
How does intrauterine insemination work?
Intrauterine insemination involves three main stages. These are as follows:
- Stimulating ovaries - Injections of fertility drugs may be prescribed to increase the number of follicles produced in any one cycle.
- Monitoring egg development - Follicle growth is monitored by ultrasound scan. About three scans are carried out per cycle. This allows follicle growth to be monitored and the best time of insemination can be planned.
- Transferring prepared sperm sample - Your partner will be asked to produce a semen sample at the hospital about two hours before the procedure. This is then prepared for insemination. If donor sperm is being used, the sample will be taken from frozen storage.
When donor sperm is used during any assisted conception technique recommendations from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) are followed.
The IUI procedure is very simple and you will be able to leave the hospital a short time afterwards. The process involves passing a fine catheter through the cervix into the uterus where the prepared sperm are then slowly introduced.
For more information, and if you have any queries, speak to your Consultant.
Read more about the risk of fertility treatments and welfare of the child.