Intrauterine insemination involves injecting selected and activated spermatozoa directly into the uterus. It is conducted around the time of ovulation.
Intrauterine insemination is recommended for light to moderate cases of male infertility (reduced spermatozoal concentration or reduced numbers of progressively moving spermatozoa). It is also suitable when complaints are experienced with the cervical mucus. Intrauterine insemination may be the treatment of choice with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or other diverse medical conditions. Occasionally, this method of treatment is recommended for infertility with unclear reasons.
There are two intrauterine insemination methods:
- Intrauterine insemination using spermatozoa from the partner;
- Intrauterine insemination using donor spermatozoa.
The method involves these steps:
- Where necessary, stimulation by medicines
Using medicines aims to boost follicle production and hence egg cell production. It involves monitoring follicle development and maturity through ultrasonic examinations and blood testing to determine reproductive hormone levels.
- Seminal fluid processing
Processing involves different methods, depending on spermatozoal characteristics. The purpose is to isolate a greater proportion of soundly moving spermatozoa with normal morphology.
- Injecting processed spermatozoa into the uterus
Injecting takes place around the moment of ovulation. The procedure uses a thin, soft catheter and is painless. In certain cases, progesterone drugs are applied after insemination to assist yellow body function.
The rate of success in intrauterine insemination depends on spermatozoa quality, ovarian factors and patient age.