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What is IUI?

Although many have heard the term “Artificial Reproduction” before, majority do not fully understand it. Actually, it is a relatively simple concept – collected sperm is prepared by utilizing Swim-up Technique, Density Gradient or Centrifugation with Washing to separate potentially fertile spermatozoa from immotile ones and remove any bacteria, debris, chemicals and seminal plasma. Preparation improves sperm’s motility, increasing its ability to penetrate the oocyte.

Only selected sperm, with high forward motility will be inseminated to induce pregancy.

Who are candidates for IUI?

Couples must be legally married and healthy. The wife should have a normal uterus/ ovary/ fallopian tubes and the husband should have quality sperm (high count, good forward motility). Couples experiencing any of the below problems can utilize IUI to assist conception:

1) Cervical mucus scarcity or cervical stenosis
2) Irregular sex life and/or sexual disorder
3) Still failed to conceive despite trying to get pregnant for six (6) months
4) Unexplained infertility
5) Male infertility: low quality spermatozoa such as low forward motility and quantity, abnormal morphology, etc.

IUI Procedure

There are different types of artifical imsemination, including Intra-cervical insemination (ICI) or Intre-uterine insemination (IUI). There is no marked difference in the succes rates. The method used will depend on the client’s specific needs; however, IUI is the most common.

How to do the injections:

Important Reminders

Sperm insemination is relatively painless and patients need to rest for only 15-30mins after the procedure. Minor bleeding, vaginal discharge and stomache is normal, with 1/3 of patients reporting these symptoms. Duration of these slight discomforts will depend on the patients’ health. However, regular daily activities and diet may be continued.

Once sperm and oocyte are fertilized, embryo cleavage will occur. The embryo will develop in the fallopian tube for 4 days and in the uterus for another days before implantation. From the date of implantation to the designated announcement date, please do not engage in sexual intercourse and refrain from any activity that will flex the abdomen muscles, such as carrying heavy objects.

Infant abnormality

There is a misconception that IUI - being an artificial means of insemination - will increase chances of infant abnormalities. On the contrary, if one completely understands the procedure, it might be more accurate to assume IUI babies will be healthier since quality of sperm and oocyte is pre-selected. In fact, IUI has assisted infertile couples conceive for the past 10 years already and we feel there is no significant difference from natural conception.

Success Rate

Success rate of IUI will depend on the couple’s physical health (age, good quality sperm and oocyte etc.) and on the medications prescribed. Usually, the average success rate is around 20-30%. However, there is still a small 10-20% who are unable to achieve pregnancy despite having four IUI trials and will be recommended for IVF or test tube baby. (Couples engaging in regular intercourse have a minimum 10-15% chance of pregnancy. IUI is an easy and cost-effective way to increase the odds.)

Multiple Births

Regular oral medications prescribed during pregnancy causes a 6% chance of multiple births. However, if additional medications are given to increase ovulation, the percentage increases to 20-25% of multiple births. However, doctors usually recommend aiming for twins instead of 3 or more.

Possible Complications

1) Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
2) Multiple births
Stork Fertility Center Stork Fertility Center Author