Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a fertility procedure timed to a woman’s ovulation cycle to increase the chances of conception.
For the man, an appointment for sperm collection is made on the day of the procedure that coincides with the women’s ovulation cycle. The couple is instructed to refrain from sexual intercourse or ejaculation for 3-7 days before the procedure.
For the woman, depending on the reasons for infertility, ovulation medications may be prescribed by reproductive specialists for a period before the procedure. Transvaginal ultrasound imaging is also used to visualize the ovaries and monitor the development of the egg. As soon as the doctor determines the optimal timing for ovulation, the intrauterine insemination appointment will be made.
In the procedure, sperm is collected from the man, and then washed and analyzed. Highly motile sperm are selected over sluggish or non-motile sperm. The use of fewer, but highly motile sperm increases the chances of achieving conception.
When the woman ovulates, the IUI procedure is conducted. A vial of the healthy, motile sperm is attached to the end of a thin and flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the vagina, through the cervical opening and further into the uterus. The sperm sample is deposited in the uterus, which enables the sperm to enter the fallopian tubes and fertilize the eggs present in the tubes.
The IUI procedure bypasses the cervix and deposits the sperm directly in the uterus. This allows the majority of viable sperm to easily reach the fallopian tubes and not be slowed or stopped in the lower areas of the reproductive tract. To further increase the chances of successful conception, the process uses over 1 million highly-motile sperm during each insemination. Studies have shown that fewer than 1 million sperm used during each insemination have significantly reduced the chances of a successful procedure.
Who Can Undergo IUI for Infertility Treatment?
- Couples with unexplained infertility
- Women with ovulation problems
- Men with impotence or premature ejaculation
IUI is not suitable in women with tubal blockage or severe tubal damage, ovarian failure, women aged 41 and above, or those with severe endometriosis. It’s not suitable for men with severe male factor infertility. This is a condition where no viable sperm is found in the male partner’s semen. However, there are other treatments for this condition, so couples should not give up hope for a successful conception.
IUI Treatment Costs
A couple undergoing other fertility treatments may also have IUI recommended to them if their doctor feels they are suitable candidates.
IUI treatment is not prohibitively expensive. It can cost under 30,000 THB for uninsured patients at the VFC Center in Vejthani Hospital. It’s generally one of the first procedures doctors recommend as it’s inexpensive and offers very high success rates for suitable candidates.
If you’re a couple who are having conception problems, make an appointment at Vejthani Hopsital’s VFC Center to increase your chances of having a family.