Artificial Insemination (IUI)
The artificial insemination technique consists in placing the spermatozoa into the uterus when the woman is ovulating so as to increase the chances of conception.
This technique is indicated when there are moderate ‘male factor’ problems or when ovulation is compromised (anovulation or irregular cycles). Prerequisites are that at least one of the fallopian tubes is permeable or that infertility has not been of long duration.
The insemination can be performed during the female’s natural cycle. However, to increase the chances of success, the ovaries are usually gently stimulated to confirm the maturity of at least one or two, or even three eggs. For this reason, the entire treatment is controlled with ultrasounds. This shows the number of eggs that will be produced and also sets the day on which the ovulation will begin. Even so, the possibilities of success with this technique are around 15-20% with each attempt. The chance of multiple pregnancy rate is 15%.
On the day of the insemination, the man provides a sample of semen at the laboratory one or two hours before the procedure. The semen is processed to recover the mobile spermatozoa and concentrate them into a small volume. A catheter is then used to put them in the uterus to avoid the long journey they would naturally have to make from the vagina to the fallopian tube where the egg-sperm fertilisation takes place. It is a painless procedure which takes just a few minutes. Upon discharge, the patient will be given a prescription for progesterone to improve the chances of success. Progesterone must be taken until the woman has her pregnancy test. If the test is positive, progesterone should be continued.
Artificial insemination requires that there be at least 2-3 million progressively mobile spermatozoa. However, if after 3-4 insemination cycles, pregnancy is not achieved, the chances decrease significantly and we recommend moving on to In Vitro Fertilisation.