Who Might Benefit?

IUI has been described as the most commonly known method of artificial insemination. It also tends to be one of the least expensive forms of assisted reproduction. The process involves injecting healthy, active sperm into the uterus. This reduces the distance the sperm need to go to reach the egg. It can also increase the chance of fertilization because it gives more healthy sperm the chance to reach the egg.

Reasons for Use

Intrauterine insemination is used for a variety of reasons including unexplained infertility. When the cause of infertility is unknown, IUI can help increase the chances of a pregnancy by making it easier for the egg and sperm to meet. For this procedure to work, a woman needs to be able to produce eggs and have no problems with fallopian tube blockages.

IUI can be used with frozen sperm. Sometimes partners who are separated for long periods of time will freeze the male partner's sperm and use it to inseminate his female partner even when in the man's absence.

Benefits for Female Fertility Problems

But sometimes, for unknown reasons, a woman's mucus can be hostile to her partner's sperm. Hostile cervical mucus basically kills off the sperm before they can reach the fallopian tubes. Sometimes hostile mucus is simply too thick for the sperm to travel through. IUI is often an effective type of artificial insemination for any other type of cervical problem as well. Insufficient cervical mucus production can also reduce the chance of pregnancy. The purpose of the mucus is to help sperm travel through the cervix, uterus and to the fallopian tubes where it can fertilize a waiting egg. If there's not enough mucus, the sperm may not be able to reach its intended destination.

Benefits for Male Fertility Problems

IUI is a good option for men who have fewer healthy sperm. It's possible for a man to have antibodies in his sperm. These antibodies cause the sperm to kill off or damage each other. Healthy sperm can be separated from the unhealthy ones in a laboratory and then injected into the uterus.

This procedure can also be the solution or a man who isn't able to ejaculate in his partner's vagina. This can happen if the man is a paraplegic, has anatomic problems with his penis or is unable to get and maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. The inability of a man to penetrate his partner can also be caused by vaginisums, which is an involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles the closes them so tightly that penetration isn't possible.

Partners where the man suffers from retrograde ejaculation can also benefit from this procedure. Retrograde ejaculation is a condition where the man is able to produce healthy sperm, but the semen goes backward into his bladder during ejaculation instead of coming out of his penis.