When a woman conceives naturally, sperm travel from the vagina through the cervix (narrow, lower part of the womb), into the uterus (womb), and up into one of the fallopian tubes. If sperm arrive in a tube soon after the release of the egg from the ovary (ovulation); the sperm and egg can meet and unite (fertilization) in the tube.
The cervix naturally limits the number of sperm that enter the uterus. This means that only a small percentage of the sperm in the ejaculate actually make their way into the fallopian tubes. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure that places sperm past the cervix and in a woman’s uterus around the time of ovulation. This makes the passage to the fallopian tubes much shorter, and there is a better chance that more sperm will encounter the egg. The goal of this procedure is to improve a woman’s chance of getting pregnant.
How Are Sperm Collected?
The sperm needed for IUI can be collected in several ways. Most commonly, the man masturbates into a sterile glass or plastic cup that is provided by the doctor’s office or andrology laboratory, a laboratory that specializes in dealing with male health issues. Sperm can also be collected during sex in a special condom that the doctor provides. If a man has retrograde ejaculation, the sperm can be retrieved in the laboratory from urine he has collected.
Men who have a difficult time with erection or ejaculation despite using medications, as well as men with a spinal cord injury, may be able to produce a sperm sample with the help of vibratory stimulation or electroejaculation. Vibratory stimulation commonly takes place in an office and uses a handheld vibratory device. Electroejaculation uses electrical stimulation in order to produce a sperm specimen. For men with a complete spinal cord injury, electroejaculation is commonly performed in the office, while patients with an incomplete spinal cord injury may have an electroejaculation procedure performed under anesthesia in the operating room.
What is Sperm Washing?
Prior to the process of IUI, a sperm sample is collected and washed. The sperm wash involves removing the extra fluid, eliminating the dead sperms, weak sperms, bacteria, debris, and prostaglandins that can cause uterine cramps, at the same time concentrating the most motile sperms in order to ensure that a larger number of motile sperm cells reach the uterus.
Washing is the first step of preparation of sperm sample for IUI. It involves separation of the sperm cells from the seminal fluid.
This process, in addition to removing toxins, also increases the chances of the sperm reaching the fallopian tubes by increasing its fertilizing capacity. Hence it can also aid couples with unexplained infertility or immune system disorders.
Techniques Used for Sperm Washing
The separation of sperm cells from the seminal fluid and any cryoprotectant is commonly done using three techniques.
. Basic sperm wash: In this process, a solution containing protein supplements and antibiotics are added to the sample and centrifuged repeatedly. Within a time duration of 40 minutes, the seminal fluid separates itself from the cells thereby concentrating the cells alone.
. Density gradient sperm wash: One of the popularly used techniques, this method separates the dead sperm cells, white blood cells and other elements in addition to the seminal fluid. The semen is placed on the top layer of a test tube filled with liquids of varying densities. During centrifugation, the healthy sperm cells move to the bottom layer of the tube while the remaining particles stay on top.
. Swim up technique: This technique relies on the motility and strength of healthy sperm cells. The semen is placed in a test tube with a layer of culture medium, where only the healthy cells move towards the culture where they are collected in order to be used for IUI.
About Iranian Surgery
Iranian surgery is an online medical tourism platform where you can find the best Fertility specialists in Iran. The price of Fertility Treatments in Iran can vary according to each individual’s case and will be determined by an in-person assessment with the doctor.
For more information about the cost of Fertility Treatments in Iran and to schedule an appointment in advance, you can contact Iranian Surgery consultants via WhatsApp number 0098 901 929 0946. This service is completely free.