IUI (Intrauterine insemination)
a fine catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus to place a sperm sample directly into the uterus. The sperm is washed in a fluid and the best specimens are selected. This procedure must be done when ovulation occurs. The woman may be given a low dose of ovary stimulating hormones.
IUI is more commonly done when the man has a low sperm count, decreased sperm motility, or when infertility does not have an identifiable cause. The procedure is also helpful for males suffering from severe erectile dysfunction.
IVF (In vitro fertilization)
– sperm are placed with unfertilized eggs in a Petri dish; the aim is fertilization of the eggs. The embryo is then placed in the uterus to begin a pregnancy. Someitmes the embryo is frozen for future use (cryopreserved). Louise Joy Brown, born in England in 1978, was the world’s first IVF baby. Before IVF is done the female takes fertility drugs to encourage the ovaries to produce more eggs than normal.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
a single sperm is injected into an egg to achieve fertilization during an IVF procedure. The likelihood of fertilization improves significantly for men with low sperm concentrations.
Donation of sperm or egg
– if there is either no sperm or egg in one of the partners it is possible to receive sperm or eggs from a donor. Fertility treatment with donor eggs is usually done using IVF. In the UK and a growing number of countries the egg donor can no longer remain anonymous – the offspring can legally trace his/her biological parent when reaching the age of 18.
– this improves the chances for the embryo’s implantation; attaching to the wall of the uterus. The embryologist opens a small hole in the outer membrane of the embryo, known as the zona pellucid. The opening improves the ability of the embryo to leave its shell and implant into the uterine lining. Patients who benefit from assisted hatching include women with previous IVF failure, poor embryo growth rate and older women. In some women, particularly older women, the membrane is hardened, making it difficult for the embryo to hatch and implant.
Electric or vibratory stimulation to achieve ejaculation
– ejaculation is acheived with electric or vibratory stimulation. This procedure is useful for men who cannot ejaculate normally, such as those with a spinal cord injury.
Surgical sperm aspiration
– the sperm is removed from part of the male reproductive tract, such as the vas deference, testicle or epididymis.