IUI is a low risk fertility treatment that is mainly used for couples with unexplained subfertility or if there are problems with sexual intercourse. Sometimes IUI is used when there sperm counts are slightly below normal or when there are small amounts of endometriosis. IUI can be used for with donor sperm (IUI-D).
IUI is not as successful as IVF in treating fertility problems, but some couples will opt for IUI as it is much less invasive.
I would normally suggest using medication to enhance ovulation (called ovarian stimulation) – this can be done either with tablets (Clomid) or hormone injections (FSH). Two (very rarely three) ultrasounds are needed to monitor the ovarian response to check that there are not too many follicles developing. I perform the ultrasounds and discuss your progress at each stage.
When the largest follicles(s) reach the right size then you will have a final injection with the IUI process done the following day. A semen sample is produced at the clinic. The sample is then prepared with the most mobile sperm separated from the slower moving ones.
IUI is a HFEA licensed treatment which means that the insemination will need to be undertaken at a HFEA licensed centre. You will need to attend the centre before hand to sign consents forms included a statement about the Welfare of the unborn child. More information about the HFEA and the consents is available at www.hfea.gov.uk
The insemination procedure involves passing a speculum (like having a smear) but is otherwise not uncomfortable. The sperm is passed into the womb from a syringe through a thin tube (a catheter).
Before starting the IUI process it necessary for both partners to have urine tests for chlamydia, blood tests for HIV, Hepatitis B (core and surface antigen) and Hepatitis C. I recommend that the fallopian tubes are checked to make sure that at least one is open (patent). Tubal patency tests can be done by ultrasound (HYCOSY), X-Ray (HSG) or at surgery (laparoscopy and dye test).
Fertility consultations including discussion of stimulated IUI can be arranged via contacting my PA, Ms Yvonne Baillie on 0207 125 0547 or email her here