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Artificial Insemination

Artificial Insemination is a procedure also known as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). It is a simple and quite painless procedure which many women describe as similar to a Pap smear. The purpose of the procedure is to bring healthy sperm closer to the egg by placing it directly inside the uterus. 

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Is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) right for me?

IUI is a lower-cost, non-invasive fertility treatment that involves preparing or “washing” the sperm so that only the healthiest sperm get inserted into the uterine cavity. There are some things which could make you a good candidate for IUI. 

Male Infertility

If the male counterpart is experiencing low sperm count or decreased sperm motility, you can benefit from this treatment as the healthiest sperm is selected.

Hostile Cervix

Poor cervical mucus prevents the sperm from reaching the egg, but IUI inserts the sperm directly into the uterus, bypassing the cervix.

Open Tubes

It is important that the doctor first confirm that the fallopian tubes are open and not blocked, otherwise IUI procedure cannot move forward.

Quality Eggs

The doctor will also check that there is enough quality eggs in your ovaries by analysing your ovarian reserve as well as checking your hormone levels. 

The period between insemination and the pregnancy test is often emotionally charged with expectation and anxiety. Our patients are encouraged to contact the clinic for support when dealing with the stress of waiting.

The Process

The treatment is a relatively low-tech, out-patient procedure in which washed sperm is placed within a woman’s uterus, when she is ovulating, using a catheter. 

Initial Ultrasound

On day 3 of your menstrual cycle, a baseline ultrasound is conducted. A helpful investigation with IUI would be to confirm that the Fallopian tubes are open. 

Cycle checks

To help the doctor determine when you will be ovulating, you’ll visit them two to three times over the course of your cycle. The doctor then conducts ultrasounds to monitor your uterine lining and egg (follicle) growth. 

Sperm selection

Semen is collected from your partner or a donor and involves seperating the seminal plasma from the spermatozoa. The process then concentrates the more morphologically normal and motile sperm (the healthiest sperm) for insemination.

Insemination

Usually the insemination occurs on your third visit, unless your cycle is longer. The procedure involves transferring the selected sperm via a catheter into the uterus. It is a painless procedure that only takes a few minutes. The doctor or fertility coordinator usually performs the insemination procedure and partners are welcome to attend. Normal daily activities can be resumed immediately after. 

Pregnancy test

A pregnancy test should be performed about two weeks after the insemination. You as the patient should take good care of yourself during this period. 

In the event of an unsuccessful procedure you are encouraged to schedule a follow-up appointment with the fertility specialist.

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Treatment Options & Techniques

The most commonly used method is intrauterine insemination (IUI). There are three IUI treatment options. Most recent studies suggest that optimum pregnancy results are achieved using the Clomiphene citrate or FSH treatments.

Natural Cycle Insemination

This option does not involve any medication but follows the woman’s natural menstrual cycle. It is suitable for patients who are unable to have natural intercourse. It is not a successful method for women whose partners have poor sperm quality.

Clomiphene Citrate Ovulation Induction

This option involves the use of medication to stimulate the ovaries, causing or regulating ovulation. The medication in combination with IUI has been shown to increase pregnancy rates over natural cycle IUI.

FSH Ovulation Induction

Ovarian stimulation is stronger with this option and has been shown to increase pregnancy rates over natural cycle IUI and Clomiphene citrate IUI. Regular monitoring of the patient is required to minimise complications relating to overstimulation.

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