Intrauterine insemination, also known as artificial insemination, is a procedure where sperm are placed directly inside a woman’s uterine cavity to increase the likelihood of fertilization. For a couple facing problems with natural conception, IUI treatment serves as a simple, affordable and effective fertility treatment option. Since IUI treatment involves selection of healthy sperm and introducing them directly to the mature female egg, it is particularly helpful in mild male-factor infertility.
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IUI is a relatively noninvasive and less-expensive fertility treatment compared to more invasive and costly treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). In some cases, couples may begin with IUI before progressing to IVF if needed. IUI may be the only treatment needed to achieve pregnancy.
IUI is a more efficient method of artificial insemination than ICI and, because of its generally higher success rate, is usually the insemination procedure of choice for single women and lesbians using donor semen in a fertility center and who are less likely to have fertility issues of their own. Enabling the sperm to be inserted directly into the womb will produce a better chance of conceiving.
It is also a method used by couples using donor sperm in a fertility center.
The steps to follow in order to perform an intrauterine insemination are: Mild Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COS), Ovulation induction, Semen capacitation and Luteal phase support.
IUI can be used in conjunction with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH). Clomiphene Citrate is the first line, Letrozole is the second line, in order to stimulate ovaries before moving on to IVF. Still, advanced maternal age causes decreased success rates, women aged 38-39 years appear to have reasonable success during the first two cycles of ovarian hyperstimulation and IUI. However, for women aged over 40 years, there appears to be no benefit after a single cycle of COH/IUI. Medical experts therefore recommend considering in vitro fertilization after one failed COH/IUI cycle for women aged over 40 years.