IUI can be used for many heterosexual couples seeking fertility treatment, including:
- Couples seeking fertility treatment, without a known cause of subfertility (sometimes called ‘unexplained subfertility’).
- Couples who are unable (or would find it very difficult) to have vaginal intercourse, for example because of a physical disability or psychosexual condition.
- Those who have a condition which means they need specific help to get pregnant (for example, men who are HIV positive and have had sperm washing to reduce the risk of passing on the disease to their partner and potential child).
Semen preparation techniques are used to separate sperm which have a normal appearance and move spontaneously from the fluid portion of the semen in which the sperm are suspended. It is known that white blood cells, bacteria and dead sperm in semen can impair fertilisation of the eggs. Sperm washing is a form of sperm preparation. It removes chemicals from the semen, which could cause adverse reactions in the womb. During the sperm washing process sperm is separated from the seminal fluid.
This depends on the individual situation. In most cases we advise that there should not be more than 3 days since the last ejaculation. This is to ensure the best possible concentration and motility of the sperm.
Although it is possible for men to father children into old age, the genetic quality of sperm, as well as its volume and motility, all typically decrease with age. Sperm are heat-sensitive and cannot endure high temperatures. We advise avoiding sauna sessions, hot baths, and placing a laptop computer over the groin for extended use. Tobacco smoking, use of anabolic steroids and use of illicit drugs are all clearly associated with poor sperm parameters.
Healthy diets such as the Mediterranean diet, which are rich in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, some antioxidants and vitamins, and low in saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids are less likely to be associated with low semen quality parameters. Seafood, poultry, cereals, vegetables and fruits, and low-fat dairy products have been related to improved sperm quality. Conversely, diets rich in processed meat, potatoes, full-fat dairy products, alcohol, sweets and sweetened beverages have been associated with a decreased quality of semen in certain medical studies.
There is about 15% pregnancy success rate with each treatment cycle.