Three out of 10 cases of infertility can be attributed to the male partner, often as a result of immotile sperm, where sperm either do not swim well or at all. In these instances, couples may find hope in Intrauterine Insemination IUI, a treatment that aims to increase the chances of conception by placing healthy sperm directly inside the uterus.
In a normal sperm sample, generally half of the sperm are immotile, which means in order to fertilize an egg via intercourse, the healthy sperm must first make their way past these immotile sperm, up through the cervix and uterine cavity to meet the mature egg in the fallopian tube. The IUI process isolates the healthy sperm, which is prepared and then placed into a medium that promotes fertility. The process is completed with a small catheter used to transfer the sperm into the uterus.
IUI has been proven to offset mild male factor infertility, and has been shown to improve the chance of pregnancy in unexplained cases. It has also been used successfully in combination with ovulation induction to maximize the benefits of both methods.