Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a treatment for infertility in which sperm are washed, processed and concentrated prior to placement in the uterus. IUI is a first line treatment for women with cervical factor infertility. The cervical mucus may be too thick or thin or it may not be present in adequate quantities. Sometimes the woman's immune system mistakes sperm for invading germs. When this happens her body dispatches its natural defense mechanisms to destroy the sperm just as if it were a bacteria or virus.
IUI is planned around the time of ovulation. Once a woman's follicles mature, an injection of hCG is given to stimulate ovulation, which occurs approximately 36 hours after the injection.
IUI for Male Factor Infertility
IUI is often one of the first treatment choices in cases of mild male infertility. Often, the sperm can be concentrated enough to make fertilization possible.
IUI with Fertility Drugs
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) medications such as Gonal-F, Follistim or Repronex may be used in an IUI cycle to encourage the development of numerous eggs. Use of FSH is dependent upon the cause(s) of the couple's infertility, their treatment history and many other factors. Patients undergoing fertility drug stimulation, also known as ovulation induction, are monitored through blood tests to measure hormone levels, and transvaginal ultrasounds, which allow the physician to visualize the ovaries and follicles. IUI success rates using FSH are usually higher than in non-medicated cycles due to increased egg production.
IUI and Multiples
IUI using FSH can result in high order multiple births (triplets, or more), which we often hear about in the media. Often, however, these multiples are the result of cycles conducted by physicians who are not extensively trained in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Our infertility specialists carefully monitor all IUI cycles and are trained to adjust medication dosages appropriately to minimize the risk of multiple births. Sometimes an IUI cycle may be cancelled or converted to an IVF cycle if the risk of multiple births is too great. It is unusual for high order multiples to result from IVF because the physician controls the number of embryos transferred to the uterus.