Intrauterine insemination, also known as IUI, is the oldest and simplest method of assisted conception. A new variation of this method, intrauterine tuboperitoneal insemination, or IUTPI, offers an opportunity for getting pregnant even sooner. Many of the problems for couples trying to conceive are not due to a failure of the female partner to ovulate or a failure of the male partner to produce an adequate count of healthy sperm. Often the problem is the sperm's actually reaching the egg to accomplish fertilization.
This is the concern when there is mild to moderate endometriosis or when there is thick or dry cervical mucus in the female partner, or when there has been injury to the vas deferens so that the sperm produced by the male partner is not included in the ejaculate. IUI, or artificial insemination, places a 4 ml sample of semen directly in the uterus to increase chances of conception. IUTPI uses a 10 ml sample of semen for greater chances of conception by compensating for low sperm count. Along with the 10 ml sample of semen, a 10 ml spritz of saline solution is washed into the uterus through a catheter tube to "unplug" the fallopian tubes and to increase the chances of the sperm reaching the egg even more.
In IUTPI, the doctor monitors uterine pressure to ensure that the mixture of semen and saline has been received into the uterus. The new technique, IUTPI, is performed in the doctor's office without anesthesia and without needles. The woman is given prescription progesterone for 14 days after the procedure to prepare the lining of the uterus, it is hoped, for the fertilized egg. In IUTPI, the semen sample is usually given additional processing before it is placed in the uterus. Non-motile sperm are removed from the sample, and the sample is also treated to precipitate potentially allergenic or inflammatory compounds.
This procedure is helpful for women who are allergic to one of more components of their partner's semen. Treatment of the semen sample also removes infectious bacteria and debris. Most fertility specialists will attempt to assist couples to conceive with IUI for at least 4 to 6 months before proceeding to in vitro fertilization (IVF). IUTPI increases the probability that couples will be able to conceive without resorting to the much more invasive and expensive in in vitro fertilization procedure.