Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – The Complete Outlook

What is IUI Treatment- An Overview 

 

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination and fertility treatment, where the washed and concentrated sperm are placed directly in the woman’s uterus around the time of Ovulation, with a hope of the sperm swimming into the fallopian tube and fertilize a waiting egg, increasing the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

Best IUI Treatment in Ludhiana can be coordinated with the normal cycle or with fertility medications depending on the reasons for infertility.

This process can increase the likelihood of pregnancy in certain couples who have had difficulty getting pregnant.

Who Does IUI Help?

 

A noninvasive and less-expensive fertility treatment compared to more invasive and costly treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).  

IUI is opted by some couples before progressing to IVF if needed and it may also be the only treatment needed to achieve pregnancy. 

A male partner’s sperm or donor sperm can be used for IUI, a treatment most commonly opted by couples who have:

 

  • Unexplained Infertility:  IUI is usually the first recommended treatment for unexplained infertility, along with ovulation-inducing medications.
  • Mild Endometriosis: Infertility related to endometriosis can be resolved by using medications to obtain a good-quality egg along with IUI as the first treatment approach.
  • Problem with the cervix or cervical mucus: The cervix provides the opening between the vagina and uterus. Around the time of ovulation, mucus is produced by the cervix to provide an ideal environment for the sperm to travel from the vagina to the fallopian tubes. However, the mucus which is thicker than usual may hinder the sperm’s journey or the cervix itself may prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Sometimes the scarring caused by procedures like biopsy or other procedures can also cause the cervix to thicken. In such cases, the IUI bypasses the cervix, depositing sperm directly into the uterus and increasing the number of sperm available to meet the awaiting egg.
  • Semen problems: Sometimes, semen analysis, shows a below-average sperm concentration, weak sperm motility, or abnormal sperm morphology. Some of these problems can be caused by IUI as preparing the sperm for the procedure enables it to separate highly motile and normal sperm from those of lower quality.
  • Retrograde ejaculation or issues with erection: Infertility caused by retrograde ejaculation where the semen mixes with urine after orgasm can also be taken care of IUI 
  • Genetic Defect: A genetic defect present in the male partner which the couple wants to avoid passing to the child.

 

The circumstances where a treatment like IUI isn’t recommended, other treatment options like IVF may be helpful.

 

Read More:Intrauterine Insemination and Cramping

 

What is the Preparation for IUI Treatment?

 

A relatively painless and non-invasive procedure, IUI is sometimes performed in what is called the “natural cycle, ” where no medications are given.

The male partner or donor’s sperm is placed at a doctor’s office around the time of a woman’s natural ovulation.

Sometimes IUI can also be combined with ovarian stimulation with medications, to prompt the ovaries to mature and release an egg or multiple eggs. 

Though every doctor has their own specific instructions for the IUI procedure, a typical timeline after the initial consultation and after the decision to go for IUI, may include the following:

 

  • Bloodwork, ultrasounds, and medication instructions while the woman is on periods.
  • The timing of IUI is extremely crucial, monitoring the signs of impending ovulation is done through blood tests, which are typically 10 to 16 days after starting the medications.
  •  A semen sample of the male partner at the doctor’s office or a vial of frozen donor sperm is thawed and prepared.
  •  The sample is immediately taken to the lab and washed in a way that the highly active, normal sperm separates from lower quality sperm and other debris. Using a small, highly concentrated sample of healthy sperm prevents irritation to the uterus and increases the likelihood of pregnancy. 

What is the Procedure of IUI Treatment?

The visit for intrauterine insemination treatment procedure which is usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic takes 15 to 20 minutes. The total IUI procedure itself takes just a couple of minutes and no medications or pain relievers are needed. 

 

During the procedure:

  • The doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina and attaches a vial containing a sample of healthy sperm to the end of a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter.
  • The catheter is inserted into the vagina, through the cervical opening, and into the uterus.
  • The sperm sample is pushed through the tube into the uterus.
  • The catheter and the speculum are removed.

After The Procedure

The patient is advised to lie on her back for 10 to 30 minutes after the procedure is over. After that one can leave the clinic and go about their usual daily activities.

Though Most women experience almost no discomfort, some may experience mild uterine cramping or  light spotting for a couple of days after the procedure.

 

 What Are the Results of IUI?

 

At-home pregnancy tests are recommended about a fortnight after the procedure as testing too soon could produce a false negative result if the pregnancy hormones are not yet at a measurable level.

Also if one has been using ovulation-inducing medication such as HCG, the medication still circulating in the body could indicate a false positive pregnancy result.

Sometimes the patient is asked to return about two weeks after the home kit results for a more sensitive blood test, to detect pregnancy hormones after fertilization.

However, if the pregnancy is not achieved, one might be recommended to try IUI again for five to six before moving on to other fertility treatments. This maximizes the chances of pregnancy.

Side Effects of IUI Treatment?

 

A relatively simple and safe procedure, IUI carries almost no risk of serious complications. However, risks of any include:

  • Infection: There may be a small chance of developing an infection as a result of the procedure.
  • Spotting: The process of placing the catheter in the uterus can cause a small amount of vaginal bleeding in some cases. However, this doesn’t usually have an effect on the chance of pregnancy.
  • Multiple pregnancies: Although IUI itself does not cause multiple pregnancies, when combined with ovulation-inducing medications, the risk of multiple pregnancies increases significantly. Multiple pregnancies usually hold higher risks than a single pregnancy like early labor and low birth weight. 

 

When discussing these risks with Dr. Shivani Bhutani, an infertility specialist in Ludhiana, she said that an experienced and competent fertility clinic takes utmost care to sterilize their instruments, reducing the risk of infection to almost zero. 

Also, a competent and experienced doctor always tries to balance the amount and type of medication, along with adequate bloodwork and ultrasound monitoring, so that the release of too many eggs at one time can be prevented.

A condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome may be caused sometimes when the ovaries ‘over respond’ to the fertility medicines.

This can lead to a large number of eggs being matured at one time and possibly released, resulting in an enlarged ovary, fluid buildup in the abdomen, and cramping. 

In extremely rare cases the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can lead to fluid buildup in the chest & abdomen, kidney problems, blood clots, and twisting of the ovary. 

The patients on the fertility medications for IUI should call the doctor immediately if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weight gain of more than a couple of kilos suddenly
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sharp abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Increase in abdominal size

 

 IUI Treatment Success Rate 

Every couple is different and so is their response to IUI, making it difficult to predict its success. A number of factors may affect the result. These include:

  • Age
  • Cause of infertility 
  • Whether fertility drugs are used
  • Other underlying fertility issues

The reasons for needing fertility treatment are a major deciding factor of its success rate. Women over the age of 40, and those who have not gotten pregnant after three cycles of IUI show a lower success rate. A discussion with a fertility specialist can enlighten the patient about the predicted success rate and also help you decide if it’s a good option for you.

 

The Takeaway IUI Treatment 

Relatively a low-risk treatment IUI can be an incredible option for women or couples trying to conceive. Couples with fertility issues should consult a competent and experienced fertility specialist like Dr. Shivani Bhutani to know their options for conception. 

IUI may prove to be an effective method for your issue and the best course of action to help you achieve pregnancy can be decided by the doctor after a detailed investigation