With intra-uterine insemination (IUI), the semen sample is prepared and sperms are placed directly into the uterus. This may be combined with superovulation (SO IUI) to improve the chances of conception.
In SO-IUI, medicines are given to stimulate the ovaries to produce several eggs. Ultrasound scans are performed to determine the size and number of eggs growing within the ovary. Insemination (IUI) is performed around the time of ovulation. On the day of insemination (IUI), the couple has to bring the husband’s semen sample to the hospital. The semen undergoes special preparation so that the quality of the sperm to be inseminated is enhanced. This sample is then placed into the womb using a fine catheter. Pregnancy support is given to improve the chances of pregnancy. You should return to the Centre 2 weeks after the insemination (IUI) for a pregnancy test.
The success rate for IUI as with IVF is largely age dependent. Generally, the pregnancy rate is around 15%. This is equivalent to a healthy couple having regular sexual intercourse throughout the month.
In order to increase fertility treatment success rates, a thorough gynaecological evaluation is important before commencing on an IUI cycle. A tubal patency test with the help of a Hysterosalpingogram or Laparoscopy (minimally invasive key-hole surgery) may sometimes be recommended. If the fallopian tubes are blocked or unhealthy, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended instead.
To maximise the success rate of fertility treatment with IUI as with IVF, couples should enhance their health as much as possible. Any chronic medical conditions e.g. diabetes, should be brought under control before treatment. A healthy diet and lifestyle should be observed. Couples should not smoke and should reduce their intake of alcohol and caffeine. A regular exercise regime can help to control their weight and provide stress reduction benefits.
Men should avoid hot baths, saunas and jacuzzis as sperm quality is badly affected by high temperatures. Men should also avoid medications that can adversely affect their sperm function. Antioxidant supplements with vitamins A, C and E should be taken to improve the sperm quality as much as possible as both healthy sperm and egg are important for fertility treatment success.
Women should ensure they are immune to rubella before undergoing fertility treatment because infection during pregnancy can lead to congenital birth defects. They should also take folic acid to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.