Intrauterine insemination or IUI is a method of fertility treatment used by many couples who have difficulty becoming pregnant. The process involves depositing prepared (washed) sperm into the uterus of a woman through artificial means. This is usually the next step after fertility drugs have been used to stimulate female egg production and before in vitro fertilization (IVF) is done. If fertility drugs have been unsuccessful in helping a couple to attain a pregnancy then many couples take it a step further - that's where IUI comes in. Unlike other fertility treatments, IUI allows for fertilization to occur naturally within the woman's body.
When IUI is Most Successful
IUI can be a very effective method of treating infertility that is due to certain causes, such as:
· infertility due to ovulation problems
· unexplained infertility
· mild male factor infertility
· infertility caused by mild endometriosis
IUI is NOT effective in these situations:
· blocked fallopian tubes (both)
· severe male factor infertility
· severe endometriosis
· severe pelvic scarring
In these cases, IVF is the treatment of choice.
IUI Success Rates
Side effects are always a concern when it comes to any type of treatment. IUI, fortunately does not have many side effects in and of itself. However, if drugs are used along with the treatment then there may be some side effects associated with the treatment. IUI success rates are relatively high, although not as high as IVF. There is an 85% success rate with IUI but it often takes several cycles to achieve pregnancy. The statistics for one round of IUI and a successful conception is 10 to 20%, which is slightly lower than the natural fertility rate of healthy, fertile couples.
As is common with all fertility procedures, the success rates for conception with IUI are highest in younger women - that is women under the age of 35. As a woman's age passes 35, the ability to conceive using IUI is diminished. Once a woman turns 40 the chances of conception with the use of fertility drugs and IUI is only 5% per round.