Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the simplest and most straight forward of the fertility treatment procedures. Carefully prepared sperm are introduced into the uterus or womb, allowing the chance for fertilisation to occur within the body. For IUI to be successful, women need to have at least one healthy fallopian tube and the male partner needs to be able to produce a good quality sperm sample. Medications such as clomiphene or injections of follicle stimulating hormone may be used to improve egg quality and ovulation is often induced with an injection.
The success rates for IUI are typically between 15% and 25%, per treatment cycle, but vary according to a number of factors including maternal age and other medical conditions.
To begin an IUI treatment cycle, a woman’s ovaries are scanned a few days before the procedure, by ultrasound scan, to predict the day of ovulation. Based on this scan, an appointment for the IUI procedure will be made.
On the day of ovulation, and two hours before the IUI procedure, a fresh or frozen sperm sample from the male partner is prepared by scientists. They will select the most active ‘healthy’ sperm.
During the IUI procedure, a very fine thin tube called a catheter is passed through the woman’s cervix and the prepared sperm are introduced directly into the uterus. Treatment usually takes approximately 10 minutes, and no anaesthetic is required. Once completed, no recovery time is required.A pregnancy test is usually taken 2-3 weeks after the procedure.