Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a procedure that involves the placement of washed sperm inside a woman’s uterus to assist with conception. It is both, less expensive and less invasive, than IVF. IUI can be very effective for patients with low sperm count, decreased sperm mobility, or unexplained infertility. It is also effective when there are problems with anatomy of the cervix or cervical mucus.
During an IUI, a semen sample is “washed” so that a concentration of optimal sperm can be used for the procedure. For the best IUI outcome, coordination of ovulation timing is everything. The goal is to expose the egg to the best sperm at the right time. Hence, the woman is closely monitored during the cycle for optimal timing and signs of ovulation before IUI is performed. Most often, the precision of ovulation is planned with the administration of an ovulation "trigger" medication (hCG).
Approximately 36 hours after the ovulation trigger, the IUI is performed. Concentrated sperm is placed in the uterus through a soft catheter so that it gets a jump start on its course to the egg for fertilization within the fallopian tube.