Detailed Description of IUI

IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination which involves placing a sperm inside a womans uterus for fertilization. The purpose of IUI is to increase the number of sperms that reach the fallopian tube, thus multiplying the chances of pregnancy. IUI is an artificial method of insemination where the fertilization is made to occur without a sexual intercourse.

Why is IUI used?

If the sperm count of the male is low

Decreased sperm motility (if the sperm doesnt travel or move to the eggs)

Ejaculatory dysfunctions

Cervical mucous problems

Sexual pain while having intercourse

If there is an involvement of a sperm donor

Failure of fertility drugs

Who should not go for IUI?

Females with blocked fallopian tubes

Females with severe endometriosis

Partners with pelvic or genital tract infections

Procedure

Before IUI, medications will be given to the female to stimulate ovulation. Careful monitoring is required to check if the eggs are mature. Ideally, 24 hours after the level of LH hormone rises in the female body, the procedure will begin. The semen sample will be collected from the male. If a donor is present in the picture, his sample will be collected. Similarly, if frozen samples are used, they will be thawed and made ready. The collected sample or semen will undergo a step called washing. In this step, the impurities will be treated and what is required for the conception will be left out. Basically, the semen will be separated from the seminal fluid. The female will be asked to lie down on her back. A small, thin catheter will be used to place the freshly washed semen in the uterus. The catheter will be inserted through the cervix. IUI maximizes the number of sperm cells that are placed inside the uterus, thus, increasing the chances of fertilization.

The female might experience slight discomfort during the whole process but it is a fast procedure and it will be over soon. She might be advised by the doctor to lie in the same horizontal position for some time.

After the IUI, you might be prescribed progesterone by the doctor. Within a week, you might go for lab tests for checking the levels of hormones. Usually, it is advisable to take a pregnancy test after a fortnight of the procedure. You might consult your doctor whether you want to take a test at home or undergo a proper test in the clinic to be assured.

Potential Risks

Multiple conceptions (twins, triplets, etc) because of the effect of the prescribed fertility drugs like gonadotropins.

Minor infections

Success Rate

The success rate varies from person to person, depending on factors like age, nature of their complications, etc. However, in a generalised way, the success rate or the chances of a successful pregnancy lies in the bracket of 8 to 17 %. In IUI, the risks are comparatively low and the chances of fertilization are very high since multiple sperms are placed directly in the uterus, giving away a lot of scope for fertilization.