The World Health Organisation defines “Infertility” as the inability to conceive after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse.  One in seven couples experience problems trying to conceive. 

Age plays a significant part in a woman’s ability to become pregnant, the older you are the harder it is to become pregnant (naturally or with assisted reproduction), with around 20% of couples who marry between 30 – 35 remaining childless.  There are however many other risk factors that may play a part such as smoking, excessive alcohol use, stress, poor diet, athletic training, being over or under weight, environmental toxins (ie pesticides, oestrogen in plastics), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), hormonal disease or imbalance and chemotherapy.

There are a variety of causes of Infertility.  The pie chart below illustrates the causes of infertility in couples that have received infertility treatment:


source CDC 2007


The most suitable treatment for an infertile couple is dependent on the diagnosis.  Achieving a correct diagnosis is vital to ensure an infertile couple receive the highest chance of a successful outcome.  Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a treatment option for couples with unexplained infertility, mild male sub-fertility, the female has Endometriosis (grade 1 or 2) and has intact fallopian tubes, woman has cervical mucus problem, man has anti sperm antibodies, ejaculation not possible due to impotence or vaginismus, retrograde ejaculation (where the semen travels backwards in to the bladder), couples seeking donor insemination and same sex couples hoping to become parents.

IUI is the standard first-line fertility treatment most frequently used worldwide, prior to patients being recommended to try IVF.  An estimated 5 million IUI treatments are performed globally.  The standard Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) technique aims to overcome natural barriers of sperm from the vagina to the fallopian tubes.  A semen sample is taken, washed and suspended in a nutrient medium and injected in to the uterine cavity.  The sperm transfer is performed around predicted time of ovulation.  The drug Clomid can be used to stimulate ovulation, depending on the cause of infertility.  Compared to other procedures such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), IUI is a low cost, less invasive first line treatment.  Standard IUI does however have a relatively low success rate, around 7.2%.  Slow Release Insemination (SRI) is the first major IUI development for over 50 years and clinical studies have shown SRI more than doubles the patients chance of a successful outcome when compared to standard IUI.   


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