IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is a fertility treatment suited for younger couples with infertility problems. By its nature, IUI is a non-invasive procedure which does not necessitate any surgical procedures. The medication protocol used in an IUI cycle is rather very mild. The purpose of the mild medication protocol used in IUI is to slightly stimulate the ovaries to release a few good quality mature oocytes as opposed to a single egg released in a natural cycle. Sometimes, the IUI procedure can be carried out without using any medication at all. This is called a natural cycle IUI. However, we recommend at least a mild use of medication in order to give you a higher chance of success with this procedure.
IUI is performed by inserting a very thin flexible catheter through the cervix and injecting washed sperm directly into the uterus. A semen sample will be washed by the lab to separate the semen from the seminal fluid. The procedure itself is a very quick procedure which only takes seconds. The catheter is inserted very slowly and carefully through the cervix in order to minimize the amount of discomfort. The sperm is released into the uterus in order to minimize the distance required for sperm to swim in order to reach the oocytes. The sperm will still need to find its way around the oocytes and fertilize. However, the chance of fertilization will be considerably higher than conception through intercourse as with IUI there will be multiple eggs present and the sperm will be assisted in its journey.
IUI is often preferred by the following group of patients:
- Younger couples in their 20s who have never had any infertility treatments before and whose eggs and sperm have identified to be viable for conception. The younger the couple is, the higher the chance of success with IUI treatment. Also, when the couple is young, they still have many years ahead of them before they reach a critical age for fertility, therefore, they might be more willing to accept a lower chance of success with IUI rather than undergoing more invasive procedures first.
- Couples with a slight male infertility problem where the motility of male partner's sperm is found to be insufficient for natural conception through intercourse. With IUI, chances of conception will be higher since the sperm is assisted in int journey towards reaching the egg.
- Young single female patients may chose this method of treatment using donor sperm to be a single mother without involving a male parent.
- Couples with male ejaculation dysfunction may also prefer IUI as a treatment option.
Women under the age of 35 usually have higher chance of success with IUI treatments than women over the age of 35, but the average success rate for IUI ranges from 10-20% in one cycle. The specific chance of success for each patient will depend on the health of sperm as well as how viable the female patient's eggs are.
It might be a good idea for younger couples to try IUI treatment for pregnancy before opting for more invasive procedures. However, we as North Cyprus IVF specialists, recommend that patients in their 30s do not lose any time with IUI or other non-invasive procedures and go straight for a procedure which is likely to yield a much higher chance of success.
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