What is artificial insemination or IUI?
Professor Roger Hart: When is intrauterine insemination (IUI) applied?
"We often use this method along with ovarian stimulation. It means the female partner uses medication to regulate ovulation. It enables us to choose the perfect timing to insert the washed and prepared sperm into the uterus. And in doing so, we further increase your chances to fall pregnant."
Who is suitable for artificial insemination?
You are having trouble falling pregnant
Couples with unexplained infertility can try artificial insemination.
This method is also appropriate if you have poor cervical mucus. There can also be other problems that prevent the sperm from passing through your cervix into the uterus. Your age, for example, plays an important role.
IUI directly transfers the sperm into the uterus. This way, the cervical mucus or reduced sperm motility is no longer an issue.
The male is away or will undergo cancer treatment
If the male partner is away (for example, if he is working interstate or overseas) we can freeze and store his sperm.
We can also freeze the sperm before he undergoes chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Once the woman ovulates, the sperm is thawed and then used for insemination.
You are a single woman or in a same-sex couple
Single women or women in same-sex relationships who wish to fall pregnant can use artificial insemination.
In this case, we use donor sperm and/or donor eggs, depending on your individual situation.
Reduced sperm count or motility
Even slightly reduced sperm quality can make it hard to conceive. Both reduced sperm count and reduced motility are important factors to consider.
Finally, if the male has issues with very low sperm numbers, you can also use donor sperm for IUI. Donor sperm is also an option if the male has a heritable genetic disease.
"Through AI, we can optimise your cycle with medications, select the strongest sperm, concentrate it, and place it directly into the uterus. This way, we can bypass many barriers that make it hard for you to get pregnant."
Artificial insemination step by step
Ovulation inductionThe woman takes hormones, either as oral medication or daily injections. This optimises the cycle and encourages ovulation.
A semen sample is takenWe analyse, concentrate, and prepare the semen for insemination. We select the strongest, most motile sperm.
Insemination of semenWe inseminate the semen into the uterine cavity. It is usually not painful. The timing of this step varies depending on your menstrual cycle. Following this, you take progesterone to help support the last stage of your cycle and a pregnancy test is performed at the end of your cycle.
Artificial insemination vs IVF
"With IVF, we combine sperm and eggs outside the woman’s uterus. An embryo forms and then we place the embryo inside the uterus."