I may recommend artificial insemination if you are experiencing short-term unexplained infertility or sexual difficulties, or minor sperm quality issues. This is a simple, non-invasive procedure. Because it involves fewer hormones and no surgical procedure, it’s often used as an initial treatment before moving onto more complex ones like IVF.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
The method of artificial insemination used by Melbourne IVF fertility specialists is intrauterine insemination, which involves inserting the male partner’s (or donor’s) prepared sperm sample into the uterus immediately before ovulation, using a very thin catheter.
Sperm is prepared so that the best and fastest moving sperm are used for insemination. I will place the sperm close to the eggs, but not directly beside them – the sperm still need to find and fertilise the eggs naturally. The chance of pregnancy with IUI is lower than with IVF, but because it is a less involved, less invasive procedure, it is a good first step for some couples.
The procedure can be performed during a natural cycle or in conjunction with Ovulation Induction. I will discuss the best option for you with you.
Before the procedure, we will track your natural or hormone cycle with one or two ultrasounds a few days apart. If being used with Ovulation Induction, I will induce ovulation with an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The insemination will be arranged for ovulation time, using sperm provided by your partner on the day.
We will have you take a pregnancy test about two weeks after the IUI procedure, and repeat the process if necessary. It is normal to have to repeat this procedure three to six times, before moving into other treatments.
Using donor sperm
When using donor sperm, artificial insemination is one method we can use to help you conceive. Donor sperm may be recommended for serious abnormalities in the male partner’s sperm production, or if there is a high chance of passing on a genetic disease. It is also an option for single women and same-sex couples.
Donors are screened to exclude genetic diseases and are quarantined to prevent infection.
You can access donor sperm either through the Melbourne IVF sperm bank, or from someone you know, once the appropriate counselling and quarantine has occurred.