Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is often an initial treatment if you have male factor, or unexplained infertility. This is couple specific and depends upon many factors including age, cause of infertility, previous treatments, and others. IUI cycles are usually stimulated, meaning ovulation induction drugs are employed.
Most IUI treatments are carefully monitored by a specialist because of the complexities involved in the treatment.
Patients undergoing an IUI cycle, administer subcutaneous gonadotropin injections during their ovulatory cycle.
Injections of gonadotropins augment the natural follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) production and cause the ovaries to recruit more follicles, each of which contains an egg.
The patient’s cycle is monitored using estradiol hormone measurements and ultrasound. As healthy eggs develop, they produce increasing amounts of estrogen and the follicles can be visualized on ultrasound.
In a stimulated IUI cycle, ovulation is induced by an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is a longer acting version of LH. Insemination follows approximately 36 hours later, close to the time of ovulation.
Couples using the male’s sperm will provide a semen sample on the day of the insemination that is washed and specially prepared by our andrologists. The prepared sperm are introduced directly into the uterus using a small catheter in a brief, relatively painless procedure. Patients may also receive progesterone at their doctor’s discretion.
In the case of donor sperm, the frozen sample will be available on the day of insemination. All sperm donors are carefully screened for sexually transmitted diseases, and for familial or genetic diseases, mental health problems, and for general medical health.
Per cycle success rates using IUI are similar to those for reproductively healthy couples, approximately 10-15%. IVF success rates are higher, but the number of cycle attempts is often limited by cost. Depending upon numerous patient specific variables, if you are not pregnant after 4 IUI cycle attempts, IVF is the next option.
Learn more about infertility services by visiting UAB Medicine’s Fertility Program page »