Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is an option to help conceive naturally
If you are finding it difficult to conceive naturally and are exploring different ways that we can help, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) may be an option for you.
What is Intrauterine Insemination?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or otherwise known as Artificial Insemination (AI) is a procedure that involves inserting prepared sperm directly into the woman’s uterus. It is carried out near the time of ovulation to increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
IUI treatment can be performing using two different options:
- Natural cycle: If the woman experiences normal and regular periods, the insemination can be performed with their natural cycle. This does not involve any fertility medication.
- Ovulation induction: If the woman has irregular or no periods, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) injections are used to stimulate the ovaries to create regular ovulation.
As the process uses concentrations of higher quality sperm and is inserted near the egg, the chance that the sperm and egg will find one another is increased. The desired outcome is for the inserted sperm to fertilise the egg as it would do in a normal pregnancy process.
Am I a candidate for IUI?
IUI can be suitable for people with a range of problems which need that extra bit of help to conceive.
IUI is recommended for people who have:
- Unexplained fertility issues
- Mild male fertility, IUI helps by preparing the lower quality sperm before the procedure
- Absent sperm (procedure uses frozen sperm due to medical procedures, e.g. chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
- Fertility issue such as mild endometriosis or a hostile cervical mucus
- Intercourse problems
- Using donor sperm to get pregnant
There are some circumstances where IUI is not recommended, this is usually if you:
- Over the age of 38 (for women)
- Suffer from severe endometriosis
- Where the male semen is marked abnormal
What is the IUI procedure?
1) Ovarian Stimulation
If ovarian stimulation is needed due to irregular or no periods, the process is started by promoting follicles to grow through fertility medication. This process is monitored to make sure the size and number of the growing follicles is controlled. An injection is then given to release the egg in preparation for fertilisation.
2) Sperm Collection
The sperm sample is collected, analysed and washed to make the sperm the highest quality possible.
The prepared sperm is inserted in the uterus by using a catheter through the cervical opening. This is usually a painless procedure, but you may experience some discomfort such as cramping.
4) Pregnancy testing
2 weeks after the insemination a pregnancy test can be carried out.
If you find the procedure is unsuccessful, it is advised to have an appointment to discuss further options. If you are still unable to conceive with several attempts of IUI, then In Vitro Insemination (IVF) may be suggested.
What is the different between IUI and IVF?
IUI and IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) are two commonly used procedures that are used for fertility issues that increase the chances of getting pregnant.
- IUI: The process involves collecting the sperm sample and preparing and inserting it into the uterus to assist a normal fertilisation process.
- IVF: The main difference in IVF is that the egg is removed from the body and the fertilisation process occurs outside the body. The process is similar where the sperm is collected and analysed, but the actual process is different by the sperm is inserted directly into the egg to begin fertilisation. IVF involves the insemination of the fertilised embryo into the uterus, rather than just the sperm.
Trying to decide which treatment is the right one for you? Dr Sharon Li would be able to chat through your options and help you to make a decision based on your personal problems and situation.
What are the risks involved with IUI and AI?
With all fertility procedures there could be potential risks that could occur:
There is a possible chance of infection as a result of the procedure
- Multiple pregnancy
If there are multiple follicles when the ultrasound is carried about, this could indicate a potential for multiple births. Multiple pregnancies can carry further risks such as premature births and low birth rates. If the risk of multiple pregnancies is too high, the treatment might not be recommended
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
As there is the use of injectable fertility drugs to induce ovulation in the induction phase there is a chance of OHSS. This makes the ovaries swollen and painful and can causes symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal distention or general discomfort.
From the process of the procedure, there is the potential for vaginal bleeding, or spotting. This is usually harmless and does not affect the chance of pregnancy.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Brisbane
If you want more advice on Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) then Dr Sharon Li will be happy to help, contact us here.