IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination, and sometimes it is called artificial insemination (AI). it is a techniques of Assisted reproduction and infertility treatment. The process depends on natural fertilization in selected sperms are injected directly into woman's uterus to naturally fertilize an egg.
If the partner’s sperm cells do not reach the egg into the fallopian tubes due to decreased sperm motility, this procedure will be perfect. The sperms are injected during ovulation. IUI process can be performed using the female’s natural monthly ovulation or after inducing ovulation by giving stimulation medication.
When to consider doing IUI??
IUI could be a great infertility treatment for those who suffer from the following:
- Male infertility problems: Sperm quality is graded by a number of factors. It should have good shape, size, a certain count per ml and good movement to be able to reach the egg and naturally fertilize the egg and cause pregnancy. If any of these factors are below certain variables set by the WHO, IUI can be the solution for this couple to conceive because sperm cell selection is done prior to the procedure.
- Semen allergy: you probably never heard of semen allergy, but some women can be allergic to the protein of the sperm. IUI allows doctors to remove any liquids surrounding the sperms and inject them in the uterus.
- Some women who struggle with infertility and ovulation problems like lack of eggs or irregular ovulation can have IUI which will be so useful in this case.
How do patients prepare for IUI process?
There are some preparations for man and woman need to be taken into consideration like the semen sample, ovulation tracking, and the peak times of releasing the LH hormone. For the semen sample, they are prepared in the doctor's office and it is washed to separate high-quality normal sperms from abnormal ones. In this way, we are increasing the chances of pregnancy by giving the egg a concentrated healthy count of sperms. Before the procedure of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), the woman needs to track its period and evaluation to determine the best time for the IUI process. Doctors may give you medicine for stimulating your ovaries to produce more than one egg.
IUI consultation visit takes about 10 to 15 minute for the doctor to explain you what you have to do and the steps of the procedure. The IUI process takes less than 5 minutes and requires no pain killer or sedation. Here are the steps you are going through during IUI:
- The woman is given ovulation triggers drugs to release more eggs and be ready for sperm injection.
- Women sometimes are given a hormone injection before the procedure to stimulate the production and growth of the egg. (the procedure must be done during ovulation when ovaries release an egg)
- Once the female patient enters the procedure room, she should take a certain position while she lay down on the exam bed and put her legs separately.
- The doctor or the nurse will insert a speculum into the woman's vagina, and then attach a thin and flexible tube called catheter into the uterus to inject concentrated healthy sperms.
- The sperms are injected directly into the woman’s uterus by a precise syringe.
- Pregnancy happens when one of the injected sperms fertilize the egg and then moves on for implantation in the woman’s lining uterus.
- IUI, intrauterine insemination takes about 10-15 minutes. It is very quick and easy and doesn’t require sedation. However, some patients might feel mild cramps.
- For the male patient, he will be asked for a semen sample which must be given on the same day to make sure a large number of sperms are still alive.
- In our labs, the semen is being washed and any liquids are removed including the protein of the semen that may cause allergy to a woman’s uterus.
- The good quality sperms are being separated from the weak ones and put in there to be injected directly into a woman’s uterus.
- The procedure doesn’t require any of the couples to stay at the hospital. It is very simple and does not take time.
IUI success rate and risks
Sometimes after the IUI procedures, the doctor prescribes progesterone which is taken by vaginal suppository. After a week of the prescription, you might get asked for progesterone and estrogen level test, but this is not in all cases treated by IUI.
Any surgery or medical procedure has some risks. IUI is a very safe and simple process that has no serious mentioned risks, but in some cases, there could be an infection. So make sure to search for a good quality clinic before having IUI. Here at Bedaya hospital, we’re powering infection control in every clinic room. So, don’t get worried about this point. In some cases, the stimulation drugs\ hormones may cause a problem and risk of OHSS, but this is very rare, and you will be taking these drugs under our doctor's supervision.
IUI has proven a high success rate and efficient results of a healthy pregnancy and it is considered as very effective Assisted Reproductive techniques, and infertility treatments. IUI success rate is more than 4% for women who had the procedure without taking fertility stimulation drugs before. Those who have taken the ovulation stimulation medicine have reached more than 55%.
IVF may achieve a higher success rate than the IUI, but it is more expensive, difficult, and complicated. The IVF and ICSI procedure are very effective treatments with a high percentage of success, but it depends on the cause of infertility.
You should wait about two weeks before making a pregnancy test at home to get a precise correct reading. Making the test too early can show false results. Your doctor will probably ask for blood pregnancy tests for being more accurate.