Intrauterine Insemination. A process by which prepared sperm are introduced into the womb by means of a thin tube.
Intrauterine insemination, which is often shortened to the abbreviation IUI, is an artificial insemination method and regularly-offered fertility treatment option. Procedures carried out as part of an IUI treatment will involve introducing a sperm sample to a patient’s uterus in the hopes of achieving conception.
Depending on whether the patient is single or in a relationship, they may decide to use their male partner’s or a donor’s sperm to complete this treatment. If the sperm of a male partner is used, he will be asked to produce a sample for insemination on the day of the procedure.
There are several different options available for IUI treatment procedures. The first of these will be whether the patient would prefer to undergo Natural Cycle IUI or Stimulated IUI, which might also be called Superovulation.
Natural Cycle IUI Treatments
This IUI treatment is based on a patient’s natural cycle, and is suitable for both single woman and those in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Patients who choose this treatment may:
- Have a condition which means they require specific help to achieve conception
- Not be able to have vaginal intercourse, either due to a disability or a psychosexual problem
It should be noted that patients choosing this treatment type should not have fertility problems related to ovulation, or a history of subfertility.
Stimulated Cycle IUI Treatments
This IUI treatment will be carried out after the patient has undergone a mild ovarian hyperstimulation. This is done with the aim of creating two or three follicles (in order to produce a larger number of eggs).
Stimulated IUI is normally offered to couples who have subfertility caused by endometriosis.
There is also a greater risk of multiple pregnancies with this type of IUI, owing to the fact that multiple follicles are produced when taking fertility medication.
The IUI Procedure
During the IUI procedure, the sperm sample will be introduced into the patient’s uterus using a catheter. This pushes the sample through the cervical opening, keeping the procedure minimally invasive. It also means that the patient will be unlikely to need medication or anaesthesia.
IUI will only take a few minutes to perform once the semen sample is ready for implantation. Once the sample has been introduced, the procedure will be over. This means that, after some further discussion and talks with a specialist, a patient can expect to have had the procedure carried out and to be out of the room in around 15 to 20 minutes.
Around 2 weeks after this, the patient should be invited back to their chosen clinic to have a blood test carried out. This offers a more reliable indication of whether or not a person is pregnant than a home pregnancy test conducted using urine.
In most cases, you will not be offered IUI as a treatment option if:
- The male partner is found to have a low sperm count or poor quality semen
- You have mild to severe endometriosis
- You have unexplained infertility issues
This is because there is evidence to suggest that IUI will not increase the chance of pregnancy in any of these cases, in comparison to attempting to conceive naturally.
The upper age limit for patients undergoing IUI treatment on the NHS is 40 years old. However, private clinics may decide to support a higher age threshold.
At GENNET City Fertility, we offer a higher age threshold for our patients. This means we will be happy to offer alternative treatment options for those approaching (or those who have already reached) the age limit.
We will be glad to offer IUI treatment options for patients from 18 years of age, up until their 46th birthday.