Many couples are unable to gain their own child due to infertility, which can be in men or women. To conceive their own baby, they can opt different techniques such as IUI, IVF, Surrogacy, and so on. These techniques are performed under supervision of specialists in various hospitals.
Intra-uterine insemination is the name given to a procedure where sperms are placed into the female reproductive system by a means other than intercourse. IUI is the most common form of artificial insemination, used and involves placing sperm into the female’s uterus through an assisted medical process. As it is a relatively low-tech solution to infertility problems, IUI is usually one of the first techniques used to assist a couple who is having difficulty becoming pregnant.
Limitations of IUI
There are following limitations when IUI is not effective:
- A blocked or damaged fallopian tube.
- Ovarian failure (menopause)
- Severe male factor infertility such as no sperm, very low sperm count, poor sperm motility (movement) and sperm defects. In all these cases donor sperm may be an option.
- Severe endometriosis
- A female partner over the age of 40.
First, warmed and ‘washed’ (treated) sperms are introduced into the woman’s uterus through a tube. Sperm can be provided by the woman’s husband/partner (artificial insemination by husband – AIH) or sperm provided by a known or anonymous sperm donor (artificial insemination by donor – AID or DI). The procedure is done around the time of ovulation to give the best chance of conception. Hormonal (fertility) medications might be used in conjunction with the treatment to enhance conditions for a pregnancy.
Reasons of Selecting IUI
IUI is mainly used when timed intercourse or hormonal medications alone have not worked. It is also used if ‘mild’ sperm abnormalities such as poor motility are found. It is also used in conjunction with donor sperm by same sex female couples or by women who don’t have a partner. In addition, IUI can be used to overcome fertility due to the following conditions:
- Open Fallopian Tube: Open fallopian tube is a factor for opting IUI as infertility treatment.
- Minor Endometriosis: This condition occurs when the tissue that normally lines inside of the uterus grows in other places where it doesn’t belong, such as on the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
- Ovulation Complications: Including irregular or absent ovulation often caused by a deficiency in one of the controlling hormones.
- Low Sperm Count: If sperm count is only a little low, it can still be used because of the way it will be treated in the laboratory.
- Retrograde Ejaculation: This condition occurs when semen goes backward into the bladder instead of coming out of the penis.
- Unexplained Infertility: Defined as not being able to conceive after one year, even though the cycle is normal, semen is normal, internal examinations are normal and there is normal sperm-mucus penetration. In about 10-15% of couples, a cause for infertility may not be found even after thorough investigation of both partners.
- Physical Problems with Sexual Intercourse: Vaginismus is an involuntary clamping of the vaginal muscles, which may prevent some women from having frequent intercourse.
- Mucus Hostility: May arise as a result of a vaginal infection or the presence of anti-sperm antibodies in the mucus.
- Ejaculation Problems: Due to psychological problems such as impotence or anatomic problems of the penis, such as paraplegia.