Commonly known as artificial insemination or donor insemination, IUI stands for intrauterine sperm injection, which is one of the most commonly used techniques for assisted reproduction. It involves the injection of the sperms taken from the male partner directly into the uterus of the female partner right around the time when she is ovulating so as to induce pregnancy. The main objective of doing this is to reduce the passage and alleviate the obstacles that come in way of the sperms while travelling towards the ovum. Artificial insemination is the first-line treatment prescribed to couples struggling with infertility.
Artificial insemination can be carried out in two ways i.e. intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracervical insemination (ICI). However, the terms artificial insemination and IUI are often used interchangeably.
IUI may be a solution if you are struggling with infertility due to any of the following:
InFertility refers to the inability to conceive a child even after many attempts. IUI is recommended to couples struggling for a year, provided the female partner is below 35 years of age. However, if the female partner is above 35, doctors might recommend the couple to opt for artificial insemination after 6 months of unsuccessful attempts.
IUI procedure is performed when the female partner is ovulating as this increases the chances of conception. Ultrasound, ovulation kits and blood tests can help to confirm the peak days for Fertility and once this is done, a semen sample is taken from the male partner for extracting the healthy sperms. Doctors generally prefer to collect the sample at the clinic so that the sperms can be cleaned and used immediately. This helps to alleviate the chances of conception. The best quality sperm are isolated and inserted into the uterus, with the help of a test-tube, via the vagina and the cervix.
It is one of the easiest and fastest methods to induce pregnancy. The procedure is extremely safe however slight cramping or bleeding may be experienced which does not sustain for a long period. You can resort back to normal activities within an hour or two. The success rate of the procedure is greatly determined by factors like the age of the female partner, the extent of damage to the fallopian tubes, sperm count and quality of the egg.
There are 10 to 20 per cent chances of conceiving with just one cycle of IUI. The success rate of the procedure is directly proportional to the number of cycles, in fact, the success rates can be as high as 80 percent with 3 to 6 IUI cycles.
Yes, there are certain criteria that are to be taken care of before proceeding with the treatment. Your medical history will be evaluated, followed by a thorough physical examination. It is important to ensure that:
Ovulation Induction procedure is recommended to women who do not ovulate frequently. It involves the use of special Fertility drugs, which are prescribed depending upon their exact aetiology for having ovulation difficulty. They help to yield more eggs, thereby increasing the chances of conception.
Timing plays a very crucial role in the IUI procedure. Since the procedure is to be carried out during ovulation, your cycles will be monitored very carefully with the help of ultrasound, blood work and ovulation predictor kits (OPKs)
The semen consists of various non-sperm elements that can trigger unwanted reactions in the female body and interfere with normal fertilization. Hence it is very important to wash the sperm after collection so as to remove all the unwanted elements. Although sperm can be collected both, at home and in the clinic, doctors recommend the latter to elevate the chances of success.
IUI helps to facilitate natural conception by concentrating good quality sperms and increasing the probability of them reaching the site of fertilisation, i.e. the fallopian tube, by inserting them directly into the uterus. Since it is an extension of natural intercourse aimed at increasing the chances of natural conception, it is important to keep trying on alternate days in the fertile period unless specifically instructed, by your Fertility specialist, not to do so owing to some specific reason. It is human psychology to think that long abstinence would yield more sperms. The reverse, however, is true. Even though semen volume is low due to less abstinence, the sperm motility and quality tends to be better as well as success rates increase as sperms reach the genital tract through both insemination as well as natural intercourse.
The insemination procedure is quite safe and hassle-free. IUI is done on full bladder as it straightens the uterine axis and makes IUI procedure easy and painless. The patient is made to lie down on an examination table and a vaginal speculum is inserted, this being the only uncomfortable step in the whole procedure. A vial containing the healthy sperm is attached to the end of a catheter, which is then inserted into the uterus via the vagina and the cervix. The sperm sample is carefully released into the uterus after which the catheter is removed. The patient is required to rest for at least 10 minutes following the procedure.
The patient is likely to feel slight discomfort which may last up to a few hours. Doctors may prescribe certain painkillers to help with the same.
The pregnancy test is to be taken after two weeks, following the procedure. Once the conception is confirmed, an ultrasound is carried out to make sure that everything is normal. In case of any doubts or queries, we are always here to help and guide you.
It is pertinent to note that not all couples respond to the treatment in the same manner and the results vary from couple to couple depending upon a number of factors that include:
As mentioned earlier, every couple responds to the treatment in a different manner. There are about 10 to 20 per cent chances of success in the first go, however, if it does not work out for you in the first try, doctors recommend to try at least 3 to 4 times before opting for an alternative.