IUI is defined as direct placement of the processed sperm into the uterine cavity at any point above the internal os.
Intrauterine insemination is also called artificial insemination, or IUI. Human artificial insemination with the male partner’s sperm for infertility began being used in the 1940’s.
However, it is not effective for couples with:
- Tubal blockage or severe tubal damage
- Ovarian failure (menopause)
- Severe male factor infertility
- Advanced stages of endometriosis
Insemination for male factor infertility
Studies have shown that intrauterine insemination can be effective for some cases associated with poor sperm quality. However, if the total motile sperm count at the time of insemination (after the processing) is less than 5 million, the chances for pregnancy are substantially lower. If the total motile sperm count is below 1 to 5 million, success rates are very low. Therefore, in vitro fertilization with ICSI (injecting sperm into the eggs) is usually done for these cases.
IUI is most commonly used for unexplained infertility. It is also used for couples affected by mild endometriosis, problems with ovulation, mild male factor infertility and cervical factor infertility.
Insemination is a reasonable initial treatment that should be utilized for a maximum of about 3-4 months in women who are ovulating (releasing eggs) on their own. It is reasonable to try IUI for longer than this in women with polycystic ovaries (PCOS) and lack of ovulation that have been given drugs to ovulate.