IUI involves the injection of treated sperm from the husband, partner or donor into the woman’s uterine cavity via the cervix. It is generally a painless procedure which takes only a few minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. The chances of success are increased if the insemination is combined with ovulation induction using small doses of fertility drugs (10-15% per cycle).
The development of the ovarian follicles is monitored with ultrasound and the insemination is timed to take place 36-40 hours after administration of the hormone injection hCG, which triggers ovulation. When ovulation has occurred, the male partner is asked to produce a semen sample. This sample is prepared in the laboratory, and is then placed in the uterine cavity by means of a fine catheter.
IUI should be performed in cases where the woman has healthy fallopian tubes and the sperm preparation is satisfactory.
Donor insemination is the treatment used for women whose partners have no sperm in the ejaculate, or for couples who do not wish to undergo the ICSI procedure.