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What is OI/IUI?

Ovulatiuon Induction (OI) and Interuterine Insemination (IUI) use fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce your eggs.

High quality sperm is separated and placed into the womb and is timed to coincide with ovulation so egg fertilisation can occur naturally.

During treatment, we monitor you closely through ultrasound and hormone blood tests to maximise your chance of pregnancy and minimise risks including overproduction of eggs and multiple pregnancy.

Is OI/IUI right for me?

This treatment may be appropriate if:

  • Ovulation is not occurring and simpler treatments (oral ovulation agents) have not worked
  • Semen analysis shows mild abnormalities
  • The cause of infertility is unexplained
  • Where donor insemination has failed to achieve pregnancy in natural cycles

How can OI/IUI help?

OI/IUI aims to make your ovaries produce one egg if a lack of egg production is the cause of your fertility problems.

If your fertility struggle is unexplained or due to a mild male factor; the treatment will aim to produce two or three mature eggs to increase the likelihood of pregnancy.

Intra Uterine Insemination removes poor sperm, concentrates the good and places them directly into the uterus. This enables them to swim more efficiently with a much shorter distance to travel…Placing a strong field in a short race, gives more sperm the chance at gold.

How long will it take?

OI/IUI is usually accomplished in two or three cycles. If not, Dr. Ong may suggest IVF as the next step.

What happens in a treatment cycle?

First half of the cycle:

  • Fertility hormones (gonadotrophins) are administered to stimulate ovaries
  • Regular vaginal ultrasound scans and blood tests are used to measure oestrogen levels produced by follicles to monitor growth (small fluid filled sacs where eggs form inside the ovaries reach 18mm before egg is released)
  • Ovulation is timed by detecting a hormone in the blood called Luteinising Hormone or LH (released 36 to 40 hours before the egg)
  • Ovulation may be triggered by an injection of a drug called human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) to simulate the effects of LH
  • On insemination day, scientists will extract high quality sperm from a semen sample produced at the clinic to be placed inside the womb with a fine plastic tube in a painless procedure that takes around 10 minutes

Second half of the cycle:

  • Luteal Phase Support: the lining of the womb is supported with hormone injections or vaginal pessaries of progesterone to help embryo implantation
  • Normal activities including sexual intercourse can continue as normal during and after treatment
  • Pregnancy test administered 14 days after the IUI procedure to determine result

What is the chance of success?

Chances of success are influenced by a number of factors Dr. Ong will discuss with you before treatment. These include:

  • Age of the woman
  • Duration of infertility
  • Number of previous attempts
  • Semen quality

Overall the success rates for OI/IUI are around 8-20% per treatment cycle and chances of conceiving are higher for women who have had previous pregnancies.

What are the risks of OI/IUI?

Drugs used to stimulate the ovaries before insemination can lead to a greater risk of multiple pregnancy. Around 10-15% of all OI/IUI pregnancies will be multiple; (twins or triplets usually).

There are many risks associated with multiple births;

  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Premature birth and low birth rate
  • Disability (cerebral palsy)
  • Financial difficulties and emotional and physical exhaustion for parents

Stimulated intrauterine insemination does not protect you against the risk of having a baby with an abnormaility nor will it increase the chances above those of a natural conception. (Around 2%)

Occasionally, ovaries can over-respond to stimulating drugs which can lead to a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) but most cases are mild to moderate.