Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI) is a one of the simplest forms of assisted reproductive treatments. The procedure entails placing sperm into the uterus with the objective of increasing the number of sperm cells reaching the egg, to achieve fertilisation.
IUI is therefore very similar to natural conception. It is also less invasive and cheaper than conventional IVF treatment.
IUI is commonly used in cases of low sperm count, or decreased sperm motility. However, other factors include:
Typically, IUI consists of the following stages:
Preparation of sperm: The laboratory staff will select sperm with the best motility, by separating motile from immotile sperm.
Stimulation (optional): Using medication, the patients ovaries are stimulated to produce as many eggs as possible, within predefined parameters, to avoid under/over response. This is optional.
Insemination: Sperm is injected through a catheter that is passed through the cervix and inserted into the uterus. The sperm will hopefully travel to the eggs and fertilisation will take place.
As with other forms of fertility treatment, the first step usually is for the patient to meet with the General Practitioner (GP), who will refer them on to a Gynaecologist or Fertility Consultant for investigations and then treatment. Patients can ask to be referred to a clinic or their choice, or can self-refer themselves. It therefore makes sense to do the research and search for fertility clinics online and read patient reviews to understand other patients’ experience. But ultimately, nothing beats contacting the clinic to arrange a visit and meet with them directly.