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Intrauterine insemination or IUI is a fertility treatment procedure, when a catheter is used to place washed, concentrated sperm into the uterus, near the time of ovulation in order to facilitate fertilisation. The main idea is to increase the number of sperm that make it to the fallopian tubes and thereby increase the chances of fertilisation. The procedure is less invasive and also less expensive when compared to IVF.

Sometimes doctors prescribe minimal medication to stimulate the ovaries and prepare the uterus prior to the insemination. This helps enhance the chances of success.

IUI is a treatment option for couples who have unexplained infertility or very mild factors preventing natural pregnancy. Some reasons for couples to opt for IUI are low sperm count or mobility, the presence of cervical scar tissue from previous procedures, ejaculation dysfunction and a hostile cervical condition.

IUI can be highly successful when the recommended 4-6 cycles are done. However, IUIs have a lower success rate than IVF procedures .

For the most part, the steps involved in IUI involve:

  • A blood test and ultrasound in the beginning of the menstrual cycle
  • Potential prescription of fertility enhancing drugs to stimulate the ovaries
  • Additional scans so as to assess the readiness of follicles.
  • Administering of an hCG injection roughly 40 hours prior to insemination
  • Collection of semen, which is then prepared in the laboratory and placed inside the uterus using a fine catheter.