Conceiving a child is first and foremost about correct timing. That is why planned sexual intercourse is the main treatment method for couples who are struggling to conceive and in whom no causes of fertility issues have been found. This method is also suitable for couples who need help to determine the ovulation period more precisely.
This treatment is based on an ultrasound scan (folliculometry) which helps pinpoint the exact time of ovulation and therefore the window of time with the highest probability of conceiving a baby via sexual intercourse. Apart from this, the physician can decide to administer progesterone to aid conception. However, the amounts used are much lower than in hormonal therapy within IVF cycles.
Ovulation is induced when diagnostic testing indicates menstrual cycles without ovulation, or anovulatory cycles. Anovulatory cycles are most frequently caused by hormonal imbalance resulting from, for example, polycystic ovaries. In such cases, ovulation may be induced by medication to trigger the maturation of one or two follicles. Subsequently, the most suitable time for intercourse (planned sexual intercourse) is determined based on continuous testing, or an insemination (IUI) is planned.
Intrauterine insemination is one of the basic and least invasive methods of assisted reproduction. This treatment procedure consists of transferring sperm directly into the uterine cavity via a catheter. This shortens its journey to the egg and increases the probability of conception. The ejaculate is processed and concentrated before the transfer and the most motile sperm cells are selected. The transfer is performed during the ovulation period.
The IUI success rate ranges from 10 to 15% in one cycle; however, the woman’s age is also an important factor. The advantage of this method is that there is no need to extract an egg under general anaesthetic and then fertilise it outside of the body. The intervention is an outpatient procedure with no general anaesthetic, it is painless and can also be performed with frozen or donated sperm.
This fertility treatment method is suitable especially in cases of milder sperm production issues, idiopathic infertility (without known cause) or for younger couples. If previous tests show that the man has a high DNA-fragmented sperm count, the sperm can be processed before insemination via separation methods (MACS or MFSS) to filter out those sperm with damaged DNA, in order to increase the chances of successful conception even with this diagnosis.