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Intrauterine insemination is one of the oldest reproductive medical techniques. In the process, the seed is introduced directly into the uterus with the help of syringe and a long thin tube (catheter) at the perfect time immediately after ovulation. The semen sample can be your own husband (homologous insemination) or donor (heterologous insemination). In the past sperms were transported only to the cervix (intracervical) or in the vaginal entrance (intravaginal). These methods are not practiced nowadays.
How does an intrauterine insemination work? First, the semen sample is prepared in the laboratory for the IUI. The further course of intrauterine insemination depends on whether the woman has a normal cycle or ovulation must be artificially induced.
If the woman has a normal, spontaneous cycle, semen transmission occurs at the time of ovulation. Between about the 11th and 13th day of the cycle, the doctor uses a vaginal ultrasound to check the follicular development and the structure of the uterine lining. If everything is ready for the implantation of the fertilized egg and the hormone concentration in the blood (estrogen, progesterone, LH) indicates the impending ovulation, the intrauterine insemination can begin.
In case of menstrual disorders or even if the sperm quality is not optimal, women will be advised to use hormone therapy to stimulate the female ovaries before intrauterine insemination. This should increase the intrauterine insemination success. The hormones - in the form of injections (gonadotropins) or tablets (clomiphene) - stimulate the maturation of oocytes (follicle stimulating hormone, FSH).
Whether and to what exactly the oocytes respond can be checked by vaginal ultrasound and a blood analysis of the hormone levels. If the egg is large enough (15 to 20 millimeters), doctor induce ovulation hormonally (ovulation induction). Immediately thereafter, but at the latest within 36 hours, the actual insemination must begin.
Doctor injects the processed semen with a syringe and a thin catheter vaginally directly to the uterus. Intrauterine insemination is usually painless and uncomplicated and only takes a few minutes.