Intrauterine Insemination commonly known as IUI is a first line fertility treatment wherein sperms are placed directly inside women’s uterus to assist in fertilization. The procedure is helpful for couples with unexplained infertility, minimal male factor infertility, and women with cervical mucus problems. Before starting with the IUI treatment, it is very important to confirm that woman’s fallopian tubes are open and healthy, she should be evaluated for any hormonal imbalances, infections or any structural problems and similarly man should be tested for his sperm count, motility and morphology as intrauterine insemination is unlikely to work if scores are low.
IUI is often done in conjunction with ovulation-stimulating drugs or injection, which needs careful monitoring. Frequent monitoring through ultrasound scans and blood tests will indicate when eggs are mature to trigger with HCG shot for ovulation. As soon as an egg is mature, woman will be given a hormone injection to stimulate its release. The sperm will be inserted 36–40 hours later.
IUI can be performed using husband’s sperm or donor sperm. The male partner produces the sperm sample usually on the day of treatment, which then washed and separated from impurities, toxic chemicals and the motile sperms gets separated from the rest.
The doctor will first insert a speculum into woman’s vagina to keep the vaginal walls apart and then a soft catheter is passed through it into the woman's uterus. The washed and separated sperm sample will then be inserted through catheter.
The whole process takes only a few minutes with little discomfort still some women reports temporary, mild cramping which is nothing to be worried about. You can have normal routine as soon as the treatment is over or after few minutes of rest.
The risk and complication with IUI is very low. There is a small risk of developing infection after IUI which can be eradicated by careful cleaning of the cervix and instruments to be used in the process. However the chances of becoming pregnant with multiples increases with IUI if you take fertility medicines.
While IUI is a less invasive and less expensive option, pregnancy success rates from IUI are lower than those from IVF.
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