Known as artificial insemination (AI), intrauterine insemination or IUI is a simple fertility treatment, where male partner’s sperm is washed and concentrated, and placed straight into the uterus. A noninvasive procedure, the chances of becoming pregnant in IUI is high. A catheter is used in IUI to make a direct route to the fallopian tube bypassing both the cervix and cervical mucus to help the sperm easily fertilize an egg.
When Is the IUI Treatment Used?
In general, IUI is considered the first option to treat several types of infertility. The IUI treatment is offered in multiple cycles until the patient achieves pregnancy. IUI is generally recommended for couples in these situations:
- In the case of unexplained infertility, IUI is the first option suggested with medications inducing ovulation
- If donor sperm is used to become conceived, intrauterine insemination is the common treatment. The frozen donor sperm are thawed and used for the purpose.
- Where the woman partner has issues with cervical mucus or cervix, IUI is suggested. Because the cervical mucus is very thick, the sperm may find it difficult to reach the egg. In women, the cervix becomes thickened owing to scarring caused by a procedure like biopsy.
- In the case of endometriosis-related infertility, IUI is performed, along with ovulation medications.
- If the male partner has below-average sperm concentration, abnormalities in the sperm shape or size, or weak sperm motility, IUI can help overcome these problems because the IUI procedure involves preparing the sperm, where high motility sperm of normal size are chosen.
- The woman partner has infertility due to ovulation problems, which may be fewer number of eggs or absence of ovulation.
Also, Read: IUI Treatment: What to Expect
How Do You Prepare for IUI?
An infertility clinic or hospital generally performs an IUI process, which is simple and painless. The procedure includes:
Semen Collection and Preparation
Your partner needs to give a semen sample or if you are using donor sperm, it has to be prepared after thawing. In some cases, a sterile home collection kit is used to collect the semen sample. The semen, which contains non-sperm elements, has to be washed thoroughly to remove the impurities. Thawing helps separate highly active sperm and low-quality sperm. The clinician chooses highly concentrated sample of active and healthy sperm for IUI pregnancy. This increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
Before the IUI treatment, it is crucial to monitor for any signs of impending ovulation. Your doctor will perform transvaginal ultrasound to check the ovaries and egg growth. If necessary, you may be given either a human chorionic gonadotropin or an HCG injection or medications to help ovulate more than one egg during pregnancy.
Timing for IUI Treatment
If ovulation is detected, the IUI procedure follows after one or two days. However, you doctor will give the timing.
Also, Read: What Is the Best Time for IUI
What to Expect When Undergoing an IUI Process?
As for the IUI test and process, you need to go to a clinic. The whole process requires about 20 minutes, in which the IUI process takes only a minute or maximum two minutes. During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on the table, and a speculum or catheter, which is a thin tube, will be inserted via the cervical opening into your vagina. This is similar to the one you would have done during a Pap test.
The tube has a vial, which contains healthy sperm, attached to the end, and once it is inside the uterus, the doctor or nurse pushes the sperm into the uterus, and then, removes the catheter. You will be asked to recline on the table after the insemination for about 10-30 minutes, and then leave.
After the Procedure:
Once the procedure is completed, you will be prescribed some medications like progesterone. You may also go for blood work to know your progesterone and estrogen levels. The doctor will suggest a pregnancy test after two weeks to know the result. It is possible that the test may show false-negative if the pregnancy hormones are not at measurable levels, or false-positive if you are using HCG and are not yet pregnant. You may have to have the pregnancy test again after two weeks, and if unsuccessful, you have to go for the next round of IUI.
If the IUI procedure is painful, it may be because of cramping, which happens when injecting the sperm. The pain should go away after some time.
How Much Does IUI Treatment Cost in India?
When it comes to the IUI treatment cost in India, it varies. The IUI cost ranges from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000. This is for one cycle of IUI treatment cost, and for additional cycles, you need to pay extra. The IUI cost in Bangalore includes the cost of procedure and infrastructure and facilities.
It is however important to check whether the IUI cost in India would fit into your budget when you need to consider additional IUI cycles.
Also, Read: IUI Treatment Success Rate and Risks
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