IUI or Intrauterine Insemination is a form of fertility treatment where the male partner’s semen sample is “washed”, concentrated and then placed directly into the uterus. This puts the sperms in the semen sample closer to the egg, which would have reached the fallopian tube, thereby facilitating fertilization. Couples who are facing an issue of infertility can opt for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) to attain parenthood. The objective of IUI is to increase the chances of becoming pregnant. This is possible if the sperm fertilizes the egg and if the fertilized egg implants properly in the uterus. IUI is commonly known as ‘donor insemination’ or ‘artificial insemination’. It is minimally invasive and an affordable form of fertility treatment.
Who can take IUI treatment or when is IUI treatment suggested?
There are various reasons where a couple may be advised IUI, to attain the joy of parenthood. IUI is recommended in the following situations:
- Unexplained Infertility: IUI is advised here along with medications to induce ovulation.
- Infertility due to endometriosis: where medication is prescribed for healthy egg production. Opting for IUI increases the chances of conception.
- Issues with the cervix or cervical mucus: cervical mucus tends to increase infertility. Since IUI helps the sperms bypass the cervix, this allows the sperms to enter the uterus directly and therefore increases the number of sperms available for fertilization.
Low sperm count: IUI gives an option of inserting the available number of healthy sperms directly into the uterus for fertilization to take place.
- Decreased sperm motility: Semen preparation techniques used in IUI can increase the motility of healthy sperms and thereby increase the chances of fertilization.
- Problems with ejaculation or erection: Couples with such an issue can opt IUI, as it allows the insertion of healthy motile sperms into the uterus and thereby increase the chances of fertilization.
- Same-sex couples wishing to conceive: IUI with donor sperm allows LGBT couples to attain parenthood.
- A single woman’s desire to have a baby: IUI with donor sperm fulfils the wish of a single woman to conceive and attain parenthood.
A couple wanting to avoid passing on a genetic defect from the male partner to the child: IUI with donor sperm can help such couples have a healthy baby. IUI is a non-invasive and a painless procedure and can be done with your natural cycle with minimal medication. During ovulation, sperm cells are collected from the male partner and used in IUI. The chances of conception can increase with a combination of IUI and ovarian stimulation. The ovarian stimulation to produce multiple eggs could be achieved with specific medications that stimulate the growth of eggs in the ovaries.
PROCEDURE OF IUI:
- You must visit your fertility doctor during your menstruation cycle for the blood test, ultrasound, and receive instructions about medications.
- You will have to visit your fertility doctor for an ultrasound scan and blood test as per the advice.
- Depending on your test results, you will have to visit the fertility clinic to examine if you are ovulating, which is after 10 to 15 days of starting your medications.
- The doctor may advice you to take regular medicines / injections to improve egg development.
- Semen samples from your partner will be collected on the day of the procedure or well before, and stored.
- Sperms are washed to remove seminal fluid and other debris. Specific semen preparation technique will be employed to improve semen parameters, based on the specific sample.
- You will be made to lie down. Your doctor will use a vaginal speculum to open the vagina gently.
- The washed and prepared sperms will be loaded into a long and thin tube, which is then gently inserted into your vagina (under ultrasound guidance) and the semen sample is ejected close to the fallopian tube. Care is taken not to injure the endometrium or other parts if the uterus.
- You will be advised to relax in a reclined position for about thirty minutes.
- You might experience slight discomfort or mild cramping during the procedure. Sometimes there is spotting or vaginal bleeding.
- You are advised for a pregnancy test two weeks after the IUI procedure.
What are the risk factors associated with IUI?
There can be chances of infection, but an experienced fertility doctor takes all precautionary measures using sterile instruments. If you are on fertility medication during IUI, then there are chances of multiple pregnancies. Your fertility doctor will adjust the medication and keep monitoring you to avoid further complications. You may experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome when there is an over-response to fertility medication.
Consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Severe abdominal pain or pain in the pelvic area
- Dizziness or light headedness
- Bloating of the abdomen
Diarrhoea Advantages of IUI:
- Less stressful and Non-invasive
- Fewer medications involved Disadvantages of IUI
- Low success rate
- Multiple pregnancies can lead to high-risk pregnancy
- Chances of decreasing the miscarriages is low when compared to IVF
- Addresses some of the infertility issues only, not all.
IUI Success Rate:
The success of IUI depends on several factors like your health, age, cause of infertility, medications used to influence the success of IUI . Having an open discussion with your fertility doctor to understand your health and infertility issues will help you get clarity of which best procedure to opt. At GarbhaGudi, we are consistently achieving extraordinary success rates in IUI. The worldwide average IUI success rate is around 12-14%. At GarbhaGudi, we are able to achieve more than 27% success in IUI.
This is due to various factors like
- Well trained clinicians and lab personnel
- World-class infrastructure and latest equipment
- Tailor made treatment protocols depending on the patient’s clinical profile
- Adoption of the latest treatment methods, systems and processes
- Continuous process improvement, since 10 years
- Usage of best medicines, processing media, consumables and injections Summary Intrauterine Insemination is a painless, non-invasive, less-risky, and inexpensive procedure.
If you are facing infertility issues and want to know if IUI is the right treatment for you, then consulting a fertility doctor can be helpful.