What Is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) or artificial insemination (AI), as it is more commonly known, is a common health care treatment for infertility. It involves placing the sperm directly in to the uterus artificially when copulation alone cannot result in conception. It can take two forms – artificial insemination by the woman’s partner (AIH), and insemination by a donor’s sperm (AID). Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a less invasive procedure than in vitro fertilization (IVF), and it’s also more cost effective. It is usually recommended as a first alternative to IVF.
Who Is Artificial Insemination (AI) Recommended For?
Artificial insemination (AI) is recommended for many partners that have difficulty conceiving a child. However, women over the age of 45 may not be viable candidates for intrauterine insemination (IUI). In addition, women who have difficulty conceiving due to tubal blockage or damage, insufficient eggs, or ovarian failure, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is not recommended as a healthcare option.
Performing Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
The woman’s menstrual cycle is closely observed with the help of ovulation kits, ultrasound, and blood tests. Abstinence is advised for the male at least 2-3 days prior to artificial insemination (AI). This is done to ensure a higher sperm count. Once the sperm has been collected through masturbation, it is “washed” in a laboratory. This is done to isolate the most active sperm in the sample, thereby enhancing the chances of fertilization. “Washing” also helps to remove any chemicals that may cause discomfort to the woman. When an ovum is released, the semen is inserted vaginally into her uterus. Any post IUI advice given by the healthcare practitioner needs to be followed closely.