Understanding Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the process by which washed sperm is deposited in a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization of her egg. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. The IUI procedure is simple and may be performed even if the woman is not receiving medication to improve her egg production. Many physicians will encourage women to take medications to stimulate the ovaries in order to increase egg production and, hopefully, the chance of achieving pregnancy.
An ultrasound will be used during a woman’s cycle to monitor the growth and size of her developing follicles. When the follicles reach an optimal size, the hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is administered to stimulate the release of eggs from the follicles within 34-40 hours.
Meanwhile, the woman’s partner will provide a semen sample which will be processed by the lab in order to separate the semen from the seminal fluid. A catheter is then used to inject the processed sperm directly into the uterus at the time of egg release. This process maximizes the number of sperm cells that are placed in the uterus and thus increases the possibility of conception. The IUI procedure is short, involves minimal discomfort, and is often a less-expensive alternative to in vitro fertilization (IVF). The best candidates for IUI include those with the following characteristics:
- Women who are under the age of 40
- Women without blocked fallopian tubes
- Women who have a hostile cervical condition, such as cervical mucus that is too thick
- Women requiring sperm donation
- Men who have mild sperm motility, count and morphology issues
- Men with sexual or erectile dysfunctions
How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Can Help IUI Succeed
Overall success rates for IUI are 15-20%, with 6% from natural IUIs and up to 30% for IUIs done with fertility drugs. Chinese Medicine, however, can greatly improve these success rates by combining acupuncture, reproductive organ massage and Chinese herbs, all of which have a proven positive effect on conception and implantation.
Acupuncture assists the body in regulating the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis thus balancing the hormones to produce an increased number of follicles and better quality eggs. It also increases the blood flow to the uterus and increases the thickness of the uterine lining to improve implantation rates. Acupuncture also relaxes the nervous system and decreases stress levels to dramatically improve chances of pregnancy. It diminishes the side effects of ovulation and hormonal support drugs. And, for men, acupuncture improves sperm samples by increasing semen counts, motility, and morphology thus aiding in the natural fertilization process during IUI.
Reproductive organ massage (ROM) is a highly specialized form of therapeutic massage that unblocks any physical obstructions in the pelvic cavity which can affect both egg and sperm mobility and union. ROM increases the blood flow to the uterus and increases the thickness of the uterine lining to improve implantation rates. ROM also relaxes the nervous system and decreases stress levels to dramatically improve chances of pregnancy. And, it alleviates impotence and prostrate problems.
Chinese herbs help regulate the menstrual cycle, increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining to improve implantation rates, improve egg quantity and quality, and improve sperm production, motility and morphology to aid in the natural fertilization process during IUI.
Research and Related Articles on How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Can Improve IUI
Changes in serum FSH, LH and ovarian follicular growth during electroacupuncture for induction of ovulation
PMID: 2503254 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Clinical studies on the mechanism for acupuncture stimulation of ovulation
Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hangzhou
PMID: 8412285 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities
Human Reproduction Division, Discipline of Urology, São Paulo Federal University, Paulista School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil
Asian J Androl 2003 Dec; 5: 345-348
Influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology
Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Sceince and Tecnology
PMID: 12658811 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality
Institute of Chinese Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel
PMID: 9272232 [PubMed-indexed for MEDLINE]