IUI procedure or intrauterine insemination has been employed to domestic and farm animals since 1900’s. Today, IUI is being performed in women who have fertility and ovulation issues.
The success of intrauterine insemination depends on several factors which include type of ovarian stimulation, age of the woman, cause and duration of infertility, quality and number of motile sperm and others.
Women over the age of 35 have lower success rates and women who are above 40 need more aggressive approach.
The insemination starts with the stimulation of ovulation. A woman is usually given medications to stimulate the release of egg cells from the ovary.
After 2 to 5 days of abstinence, the husband is then instructed to produce a semen specimen from home. After this, the semen then undergoes washing which is called “sperm washing” or “sperm processing”.
This method involves the separation of the sperm from other components of the semen. The collected sperm cells are then concentrated in a small volume. The sperm processing usually takes 30-60 minutes to complete.
A speculum is then inserted gently into the vagina and the cervix is cleansed. Using a sterile catheter, the washed sperm is placed on the cervical area or into the intrauterine region.
The IUI procedure is similar to that of a pap smear which may cause little or no discomfort at all. Most clinics instruct women to remain lying down for a few minutes. However, once the sperm had been placed in the cervix or uterus, there is no way that it could actually leak out.
Although IUI procedure may be successful for some, it does not guarantee a high percentage of success on the following: women more than 38 years old, women who are in their menopausal age, women who have fallopian tube obstruction and those who have pelvic adhesions.
In addition, months before the procedure, a woman must also declare the latest medications taken and the therapies that she underwent. Several medications could also alter and disrupt the pattern of hormone levels in the body.
In addition to the female factors, the sperm count of a man also matters in the success of the intrauterine insemination process. Studies show that if a man has a lower number of motile sperm after sperm washing, the chances of fertilization is also lowered.
In addition, during the semen test or semen analysis, if a man has a lower sperm count, this would also mean lesser probability of pregnancy.
Timing of the IUI procedure is also crucial. If the procedure is done later or earlier, this may halt the success of conception. The health care provider should be exact in doing the procedure to increase the chance of intrauterine insemination success.
After the procedure, there is no indication for complete bed rest. In fact, the woman could actually go back to work. Furthermore, couples could actually have an intercourse after the procedure. This is actually advantageous since adding more sperm could actually increase the likelihood of pregnancy.