IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment in which sperm is collected and washed, and then deposited inside the uterus using a catheter-like medical device around the time that the egg is being released. IUI can increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and may therefore increase the chance of fertilization.
A doctor may recommend IUI treatment if a couple has:
• Mild male factor infertility
• Mild endometriosis
• Unexplained infertility
• Problems having intercourse, either physical or psychological
• Sperm donation and no female fertility issues
IUI is not suitable in the follow situations:
• Fallopian tube occlusion
• Severe endometriosis
• Low ovarian reserve
• Severe male factor infertility
There are three types of IUI cycles. The type of IUI cycle you use depends on a variety of factors and should be decided in consultation with your doctor:
If the woman has a regular menstrual cycle, she can monitor her ovulation and have IUI on the day when she ovulates.
Oral Ovulation Induction Drugs Cycle
If the woman has an irregular menstrual cycle, she can take oral drugs such as Clomid to promote egg growth and make ovulation more predictable. The IUI can take place when ovulation has occurred.
Similar to IVF, the woman takes daily injections to stimulate the ovaries to develop more than one egg. When the eggs have matured, an ovulation trigger injection is taken and IUI can be performed.
IUI is less expensive, less invasive and less time consuming than IVF and is therefore often considered as a first step in treatment if the couple are suitable candidates. In general, however, IUI is less effective than IVF. The success rate of IUI is 8% to 15% depending on the couple’s diagnosis and the age of the female patient. Most doctors will advise no more than 3 unsuccessful IUI cycles before moving to IVF treatment, or 6 cycles if using donor sperm.
IUI Treatment in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is sometimes referred to as Artificial Insemination by Husband (AIH).
According to Hong Kong law, IUI will only be provided to heterosexual married couples.
A complete list of clinics licensed to provide IUI treatment can be found on the Council of Human Reproductive Technology website.
Couples can access IUI treatment in the public system, as a private patient in the public system, or in a private clinic. Waiting periods for an appointment for IUI in the public system are significantly shorter than for IVF and you can call Queen Mary Hospital or Prince of Wales Hospital to ask for an updated estimate of the waiting time. IUI (referred to as AIH) is also available through the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong.
The cost of doing IUI in the public system is very low. According to the Queen Mary Hospital website, there is no cost to public patients for the drugs to stimulate the ovaries or for the insemination procedure. For private patients in the public system, IUI can cost between HK$5,600 and $14,000. In the private sector, prices vary between clinics and you will need to contact your chosen provider for an estimate of the treatment costs.