All You Need to Know About Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI (intrauterine insemination) is a reproductive procedure in which sperm is injected directly into a woman’s uterus, skipping the cervix and boosting the likelihood of conception. For couples who are having problems conceiving because of male reproductive concerns, unexplained infertility, or irregularities in cervical mucus, IUI is a reasonably easy and non-invasive technique.

Here’s what you need to know about the IUI process:

Preparation: The woman will be given medication and watched attentively by the follicular study before the procedure to ascertain the ideal window for IUI, which is often right around ovulation. To encourage ovulation, medication may be administered.

Collection of sperm: On the day of the IUI, the male partner must supply a sample of semen. Abstinence of 2-3 days should be followed before giving a sample. Sperm from a donor may be obtained in special circumstances from a sperm bank.

Sperm washing: To separate the sperm from the semen and concentrate the healthy sperm, the sperm will be processed in a lab.

Insemination: Using a thin, flexible catheter, concentrated sperm are then injected straight into the uterus. This procedure normally just lasts a few minutes and is painless.

Following the treatment, the woman could be instructed to lie down for a little while to boost the likelihood that it will be successful. About two weeks following the IUI, a pregnancy test will be performed to determine whether it was effective.

IUI process, Dr Monika Agrawal
IUI process

Why is Intrauterine insemination (IUI) done

Couples who are having trouble getting pregnant can boost their chances of fertilisation and pregnancy by undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI). It might be suggested in the following circumstances:

Male factor infertility: IUI is an option if the male partner has low sperm counts, poor sperm motility, or ejaculatory problems.

Unknown infertility: IUI can be used as a first-line treatment before switching to more invasive treatments when the cause of infertility is unknown.

In some circumstances, the cervical mucus might stop sperm from reaching the uterus, resulting in cervical factor infertility. IUI avoids the cervical mucous and inserts the sperm into the uterus directly.

In situations where the male spouse is unable to generate viable sperm, IUI can also be utilised with donor sperm.

Risk of Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is generally regarded as a low-risk and relatively safe fertility procedure. You should be informed of some potential dangers and complications, though, as with any medical operation. They consist of:

IUI can raise the likelihood of having twins, triplets, or more pregnancies. When you are receiving treatment, your doctor will keep a close eye on you to lower your risk of multiple pregnancies, which can result in complications like early birth, low birth weight, and other health problems.

Infection: IUI may, in a small percentage of cases, result in an infection of the uterus or other reproductive organs. Your doctor will take precautions to reduce this risk by making sure the surgery is performed in sterile circumstances.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a condition that causes the ovaries to swell and hurt. In some situations, the medicine used to accelerate ovulation can cause OHSS. To lessen your risk of OHSS, your doctor will regularly monitor you during your therapy.

Cramping or spotting: Some women may have slight discomfort following the treatment, such as cramping or spotting, but these signs usually go away on their own.

Stress: Fertility treatments can be emotionally taxing, and some women may have psychological side effects like anxiety or despair.

Results of Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

The cause of infertility, the age of the woman, the calibre of the sperm utilized, and the timing of the treatment are some of the variables that can affect the outcome of intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI generally has a lower success rate than more sophisticated fertility procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF). IUI, however, might be a less invasive, more affordable choice for some couples that can result in a successful pregnancy.

The percentage of women who become pregnant after a particular number of cycles is commonly used to measure the success rate of IUI. The American Association for Reproductive Medicine reports the following success rates for IUI:

10–20% chances of pregnancy per cycle for women under 35, increasing to 80% after 6 cycles.

10% likelihood of pregnancy per cycle for women in their 30s and 40s, with a 60% chance of pregnancy after six cycles.

Less than a 5% chance of pregnancy per cycle for women over 40, with a chance of up to 20% after six cycles.

It’s crucial to remember that success rates might change according to a person’s unique situation, and some couples can need more than six rounds of IUI before experiencing a successful pregnancy. Based on your unique circumstances, your doctor can help you understand your odds of success.

IUI is generally a secure and practical choice for many infertility-stricken couples. IUI is a low-risk, somewhat inexpensive approach that can help many couples conceive, while success rates may be lower than with more sophisticated fertility treatments.

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