IUI involves obtaining a semen sample from the male partner around the time of ovulation, preparing it in the laboratory and then placing it in the woman’s uterus.
During sperm preparation, dead and poor quality sperm are removed leaving a small, highly purified sample of healthy sperm, at the correct concentration for fertilization. This is then placed into the uterine cavity using very soft thin tubing, in a procedure quite similar to having a smear test.
Intra-Uterine Insemination must be performed around the time of ovulation and so requires accurately determining when ovulation may occur. The woman’s cycle is monitored using vaginal ultrasound scanning. IUI may be performed during a ‘natural’ cycle or in combination with fertility drugs.
IUI is recommended for certain problems such as mild sperm abnormalities, cervical problems or psycho-sexual problems in couples where the woman is usually 37 or younger. It may also be used for unexplained infertility. It is not recommended if there is significant endometriosis (grades III – IV), tubal disease (e.g. following tubal infection), significant sperm abnormalities or in older women.