Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the simplest form of assisted conception and involves the injection of prepared sperm into the uterine (womb) cavity. The procedure is similar to having a smear test except a fine catheter is passed through your cervix, to enable the passage of sperm directly into the womb. The procedure is timed to correspond with ovulation and optimise chance of conception.In general IUI is appropriate in the following cases:
- Unexplained infertility
- Mild degree of abnormality in the sperm
- Antisperm antibodies
- Difficulties having intercourse
Insemination is timed to when the egg is released into the fallopian tube, either following the administration of HCG or urine detection of natural ovulation. On the morning of insemination your partner will need to produce a fresh sperm sample which is washed and prepared in the laboratory. He will need to attend the clinic at least 2 hours before your insemination is scheduled to occur. The prepared sample is then mixed with a small amount of culture fluid and drawn into a syringe. During the insemination the clinician or nurse performing the procedure will gently insert a speculum into your vagina to visualise the cervix. Cervical secretions are first removed and then a fine plastic catheter is passed gently through your cervix into the uterus. The syringe is attached and sperm injected slowly.
This may be slightly uncomfortable, a mild period pain sensation but otherwise is relatively quick and painless. There is no need to take time off work or limit usual daily activities following IUI but you should plan for 2 to 4 visits to the ACUduring your treatment cycle for scans and the insemination itself. If you do not have a period 2 weeks after insemination, a pregnancy test should be done. This can be a standard home pregnancy test or you may choose to come to the clinic for a blood test. If the test result is positive we can arrange for you to come in for an early pregnancy scan 3 weeks later (you will be 7 weeks pregnant at this stage).
Following insemination you may be commenced on progesterone pessaries (Cyclogest) to take each night for 14 days.