Many couples who have been struggling with infertility find that intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the solution that will help them get pregnant. IUI is one of the simplest forms of fertility treatment, and it can also benefit those who are trying to conceive with the help of a sperm donor. One detail that not many who have never had a close encounter with IUI are unaware of is the need for sperm washing.
What is sperm washing, and why is it done? During intrauterine insemination, sperm is inserted directly into the uterus with a special catheter. This cuts out part of sperm's normal journey: the vagina and the cervix. During those swimmers' usual journey, some chemicals that were part of semen are filtered out. This would not happen with sperm inserted directly into the uterus, so sperm is instead washed by your fertility clinic.
Sperm washing filters out prostaglandins, male chemicals that can cause uterine contractions. If "raw", unwashed sperm, were to be inserted into the uterus, it was cause heavy cramps and pain. But that is not all sperm washing does; that process also gets rid of substandard quality and dead sperm that may be part of your partner's semen sample.
Sperm washing can even be used to prevent the transmission of the HIV virus (fertility treatments to prevent spread of HIV safe)! Although the sperm washing process is mainly associated with intrauterine insemination treatment, the procedure can also benefit others. Men with morphology problems may have their sperm washed without IUI there is also the option of transvaginal insemination. And women who have endometriosis increase their chances of getting pregnant when their partner's sperm has been washed.