Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a process in which sperm collected from normal
ejaculate of male partner, sperm retrieved from reproductive tract of male partner or donated sperm are directly
placed into a woman's uterus, close to the time of her ovulation. Doing so would increase chances of
fertilization, since a concentrate of high quality sperm is placed into the uterus and it is relatively
easier for sperm to travel from the uterus to fallopian tube and fertilize the
egg, rather than travelling all the way from vagina to fallopian tube through the cervix.
When is IUI used?
IUI can be performed to treat any of the following
IUI cannot be performed in women who have blocked fallopian tubes,
since blocks can prevent sperm from reaching the egg or prevent movement of fertilized egg. Hence, first step
in IUI treatment is to check whether fallopian tubes are healthy. This is done using methods such as
hysterosalpingogram (HSG), falloposcopy or laparoscopy. If at least one of the two fallopian tubes is healthy (and both ovaries are
functioning), IUI can be performed. In this case, IUI can be carried out only when ovulation occurs from the
ovary that is on the same side as the open tube.
IUI can be performed with or without
administration of fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation (fertility drugs are usually administered for women who
suffer from ovulatory disorders). Ovulation is tracked using blood tests, urine tests, ovulation
predictor kits or ultrasound scans and insemination (placing sperm in uterus) is timed to coincide with
ovulation. Sperm collected from normal ejaculate of male partner, sperm retrieved from reproductive tract of
male partner or donated sperm can be used for IUI. Sperm are first washed and concentrated (this would take
30-60 minutes). These highly motile and concentrated sperm are then placed into the woman's uterus close to
the time of ovulation using a thin, flexible catheter (tube) inserted through the cervix. This is usually a
simple, painless procedure which takes 15 to 20 minutes (in some cases, this procedure can cause
mild cramps similar to menstrual pain). The individual under treatment can leave home after a short rest and
will be advised to take pregnancy tests in 2 weeks time.
The video below shows a 3D
animation of IUI procedure.
What is the success rate of IUI and
what factors influence IUI success rate?
Success of IUI depends on factors such as age and health of woman
(women under the age of 35 usually have higher success rates), quality of sperm, sperm count, timing of
insemination etc. On an average, IUI has a success rate ranging from 10 - 20% per
cycle. In case an IUI do not succeed, the process can be repeated or the fertility specialist might recommend
for another treatment method.
does IUI cost?
Cost of IUI can vary with the location
of clinic, success rates of clinic and expertise of treatment facility. In United States, IUI costs around 800
dollars. There can be additional costs for fertility drugs and donor sperm (if they are used). Discuss in
advance with the fertility clinic about total costs involved for an IUI cycle.
plans may or may not cover infertility treatments. It is advisable to read the
insurance plan carefully and get the help of an independent insurance advisor to find out whether the insurance
plan covers IUI treatment. Click infertility insurance laws for more information on 15 states
in the United States that require insurance coverage for infertility treatments.
What are the risks of
IUI is a relatively simple and safe procedure. It usually has very
low risks. Some of the risks of IUI are:
Infection in reproductive tract
If fertility drugs are used in an IUI treatment, there are
chances of occurrence of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome or over
stimulation of ovaries (by fertility drugs) and multiple pregnancy (pregnancy with two or more
foetuses).Fertility drugs stimulate
production of multiple ovaries. This would increase chances of fertilization of multiple eggs and
formation of multiple embryos, resulting in multiple pregnancy.Multiple pregnancy can cause high blood pressure and diabetes in
mother, premature labor and babies having low birth weight.
the things to take care of after IUI?
The IUI procedure usually takes only 15 to 20 minutes. The individual
under treatment can leave home after a short rest. Stay relaxed andreturn to normal day to day activities. There are chances of light spotting and mild cramps
after IUI. If the spotting is heavy or in case of any doubts, it is advisable to consult the doctor. Avoid
strenuous physical activities, smoking, drinking and use of recreational drugs. Pregnancy tests can be performed in
two weeks time after IUI. In case an IUI do not succeed, the process can be repeated or the fertility specialist
might recommend for another treatment method.
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Note: It is advisable for a couple whose female partner is over 35 years of age to seek
immediate medical help from a fertility specialist, if they are not able to conceive after 6 months
of regular sexual intercourse without using any contraceptives.