Assisted reproductive technologies have come a long way in helping couples conceive. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracervical insemination (ICI) are two of the most commonly used techniques to help couples conceive. Both of these techniques involve placing sperm inside a woman's reproductive tract to increase the chances of fertilization. However, they differ in several aspects. In this blog post, we'll discuss the differences between IUI and ICI.
What is IUI?
IUI stands for intrauterine insemination. In this procedure, washed sperm are placed directly into the uterus using a thin catheter. The sperm are washed to remove any seminal fluid or debris that may cause an allergic reaction or irritation to the cervix. The procedure is usually done in a fertility clinic and is typically done in conjunction with ovulation induction, which involves taking medication to stimulate ovulation.
IUI is generally used in cases where the male partner has low sperm count, decreased motility or abnormal morphology, or in cases where the woman has cervical mucus hostility, which can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. IUI is also recommended in cases where the couple is experiencing unexplained infertility.
What is ICI?
ICI stands for intracervical insemination. In this procedure, sperm is placed in the cervix using a syringe or a cervical cap. The sperm is not washed, and the procedure can be done at home or in a fertility clinic. The timing of the procedure is important, and it is usually done around the time of ovulation.
ICI is typically used in cases where the male partner has normal sperm count and motility but is unable to have sexual intercourse due to medical reasons. ICI can also be used by same-sex couples or single women who wish to conceive using donor sperm.
Difference between IUI and ICI:
Procedure: The most significant difference between IUI and ICI is the procedure itself. IUI involves placing washed sperm directly into the uterus using a catheter, while ICI involves placing sperm in the cervix using a syringe or a cervical cap.
Washed sperm: In IUI, the sperm is washed to remove any debris that may cause an allergic reaction or irritation to the cervix. In ICI, the sperm is not washed.
Location: IUI is usually performed in a fertility clinic, while ICI can be performed at home or in a fertility clinic.
Indication: IUI is typically recommended in cases where the male partner has low sperm count or decreased motility, while ICI is recommended in cases where the male partner has normal sperm count and motility but is unable to have sexual intercourse.
Success rates: The success rates of IUI and ICI vary depending on the underlying cause of infertility. In general, IUI has higher success rates compared to ICI.
In conclusion, both IUI and ICI are effective techniques to help couples conceive. The choice between the two depends on the underlying cause of infertility and the individual circumstances of the couple. It is essential to consult with a fertility specialist to determine which technique is best suited for your specific case.