INTRA-UTERINE INSEMINATION

What You Should Know About Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI)

Intra-uterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment in which a sperm is placed into the uterus (woman’s womb) by a gynaecologist to facilitate fertilisation of the egg and thus improving the chances of pregnancy. As sexual intercourse is not involved in this process, IUI is also known as an artificial insemination procedure.

IUI may be a suitable fertility treatment option for men with conditions such as erectile dysfunction, poor sperm motility, count or quality, as it maximises the number of active sperm cells placed in the uterus, therefore increasing chances of natural conception. It is often an option explored by many couples who are trying to conceive, before they go on to IVF.

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) Procedure SMG Women's Health

1. How is IUI Different from IVF?

IUI vs IVF

IUI is a different procedure from IVF in that:

  1. fertilization of the egg happens inside the woman’s body i.e. sperm meets egg in the body to form an embryo, similar to a natural pregnancy,
  2. it is a less invasive procedure than IVF and no anaesthesia is required as there is no need to retrieve the egg from the woman, the feeling is similar to that of doing a pap smear,
  3. IUI is less costly as the process itself is simpler.
IUIIVF
Egg Retrieval from Woman
Sperm Collection from Man
Transfer of Sperm to Woman
Sperm Fertilising EggIn The BodyIn The IVF Lab
Transfer of Embryo to Woman
Anaesthesia Required
Cost$$$$

Table 1: Key differences between IUI and IVF

2. What is the IUI Procedure Like in Singapore?

Step 1: Sperm collection and processing

The man’s semen sample is collected beforehand, prior to the start of the IUI cycle. Your fertility clinic will assist you in scheduling an appointment with the laboratory to submit your semen sample on a specified date. Husbands can choose to either collect their semen at home on in the hospital, with the sterile specimen container provided by the labs beforehand. The semen must be sent to the lab within the stipulated time frame to ensure optimal quality of the sperms (which will be subsequently extracted from the semen).

Step 2: Ovulation induction and monitoring

To increase the chances of pregnancy, women opting to undergo IUI will typically be given a small tablet to stimulate the production of eggs in the ovaries, so that there will usually at least be one mature egg available for the sperm to fertilise during IUI. This tablet is taken daily from Day 2 of the menstrual cycle.

During this period, your gynaecologist will also be monitoring the growth of your eggs in the ovaries to detect accurately when ovulation will happen. (*Remember, your fertile period happens only when ovulation takes place!)

Sometimes, a hCG injection will be given to induce ovulation as well. In that case, the insemination procedure will take place around 36 hours after the injection.

Diagram

Step 3: Insemination (Placing the sperms in the womb)

Once ovulation is detected or induced, your gynaecologist will schedule for the IUI procedure. This procedure is simple and can be done in the gynae’s clinic with no downtime after. The processed sperms that were collected earlier will be inserted into the woman’s uterus via a fine plastic tube.

Step 4: Test for Pregnancy

A pregnancy test can be done in 2 weeks to determine if the treatment is successful.

3. Cost of IUI Procedure

The cost of the IUI procedure is around $600-$700.

4. Who Can I Consult for IUI?

All of the O&G specialists under the SMG Women’s Health clinic network are experienced and equipped to perform IUI for you in a comfortable setting. We also have IVF clinicians in the group should you require to take the next step of IVF.

Again, before embarking on any fertility treatments, it is critical to perform a proper fertility assessment to understand your condition.

Mother and Child IUI Procedure SMG Women's health

FAQs

IUI typically has a success rate of 12 – 15%. When performed together with the use of fertility medications, the success rate can go up to 15 – 20%

There is minimal pain when placing the sperms in the womb during IUI. It will feel quite similar to that of undergoing a pap smear. The whole procedure takes 10 to 15 minutes approximately, and you can continue with your daily activities as usual after that.

If IUI fails, you may repeat the process. However, if IUI repeatedly fails to result in pregnancy, IVF would be the next treatment option in line.

There is no hard age limit for IUI, however, it will depend on the condition of your eggs, your husband’s sperm and your fallopian tubes. That in turn is significantly affected by age, so do not delay in seeking fertility treatment if your repeated attempts at pregnancy are unsuccessful.

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At SMG Women’s Health (SMGWH), we are dedicated to seeing you through your health and wellness…

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