What Is Intrauterine Insemination?
Intrauterine insemination is a painless, non-invasive and relatively less expensive procedure for couples who want to get pregnant by artificial insemination. It is basically, a fertility treatment used for increasing the chances of fertilization and ultimately pregnancy.
According to a survey in Italy, the number of pregnancies through intrauterine insemination from 2005 to 2009 increased and were recorded 3482 pregnancies in 2009.
Conditions In Which IUI is Done:
Intrauterine insemination is required to be done in certain conditions and for women who are unable to conceive naturally.
1. Decreased Ovulation
Any condition that disturbs or suppresses ovulation like hormonal imbalances or ovarian cysts (PCOS) can hinder pregnancy. The women with decreased ovulation are also given some medications that stimulate ovulation and then IUI is performed so that chances of conceiving are increased.
2. Idiopathic or Unexplained
When there are unknown causes for infertility and no signs of any pathology, such a condition is referred to as unexplained infertility. Intrauterine insemination is a blessing to such people.
3. Difficulty in Ejaculation
Men who experience any difficulty or pain while ejaculating the sperms can also be a cause of infertility. So, IUI is a better option for them.
When the male partner has some fertility issue like decreased sperm count, compromised health and concentration of sperms, lower sperm motility or any abnormality in the shape and size of the sperms serve as a hindrance in having kids.
5. Excessive Sexual Pain
More than normal pain during sex leads to infrequent or even no intercourse. Such a condition is an obvious reason for having no offsprings.
6. Thickening of Cervical Mucus
The cervix of every woman secretes mucus just like other organs (stomach, nasal cavity etc.). Sometimes, this mucus gets thicker and its viscosity increases than a normal range leading to block or hinder the pathway for sperms to travel through and reach the uterus. IUI is used for such women to directly induce the sperms into the uterus and avoid the mucosal pathway of the cervix.
7. Single Mother Parent
Women who want to be a single parent often conceive a baby through IUI by using donor sperms. The donor sperms are placed inside the uterus to done with fertilization of the awaiting egg.
8. Women Allergic to Semen
Women who are sensitive or allergic to some irritant proteins in the semen are more likely to be on the verge of decreased fertilization because their pathway for sperms becomes inflamed, swelled and appear red like burns. Hence, IUI is a better opportunity for them.
9. Genetic Defect
The couples who want to avoid any genetic diseases or traits to transmit in the offspring tend to move towards Intrauterine insemination.
Women Not Suitable For IUI:
There are certain conditions in which Intrauterine insemination is not prescribed to be done.
Women with a current or past medical history of pelvic infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease PID are not suitable for IUI. In pelvic Inflammatory disease, the organ responsible for reproduction in women i.e. uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes etc. gets inflamed and no procedure like IUI is done in such women.
Fallopian Tube Disease
If there is any disorder or pathology in the fallopian tubes that causes severe fallopian tube disease and leads to removal or blockage of fallopian tubes then IUI is of no use because the egg is located in the fallopian tube to be fertilized. If the tube is blocked, there will be no place for the egg and so for fertilization.
Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the middle layer of the uterus i.e. endometrium is formed anywhere outside the uterus often causing infertility. IUI can be done in women having mild endometriosis but if the condition has been exaggerated leading to moderate-severe endometriosis, IUI is not performed.
Protocols For Intrauterine Insemination:
There are some protocols to be followed in order to get the IUI done exactly the way it should be.
- You have to visit the clinic many times before IUI for blood tests, medications, ultrasounds etc. while you are on your periods.
- You have to take some prescribed medications during your periods that will boost up your ovulation and ultimately the chances of pregnancy.
- Your physician will decide the date and day for IUI according to the most possible ovulating days of your menstrual cycle.
- The male partner or donor has to give the sample of semen on the day on which the procedure is scheduled because fresh semen enhances the quality of sperms and chances for fertilization but if the donor is facing any difficulty in providing the sample just at the day of IUI then the semen can also be taken a day before the procedure and frozen to avoid any mistake.
- After taking the semen, the sperms are washed without any delay so that the concentration and quality of them are not compromised at any cost.
- Ovulation medications are given before IUI and Luteinizing hormone is being suspected all the time. After the stream of LH, it is considered the best ovulating period for the procedure of IUI mostly about 24-36 hours of it. https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/intrauterine-insemination-70967/#:~:text=Intrauterine%20Insemination%20(IUI)%20is%20a,increase%20the%
- The seminal fluid from the sample of the donor is removed and the sample is purified consisting of only sperms and some necessary substances essential for conceiving.
- The sperms are washed and their concentration is increased so that they travel inside and fertilize the female egg easily.
- The Procedure starts when your doctor asks you to lie down straight on the stature or table.
- No anesthesia is given to the patient because the procedure is painless but because every woman is different and has a unique body, a few women experience some degree of discomfort, cramping of the uterus and a little bleeding that depends from woman to woman.
- The doctor introduces a thin speculum inside the vagina and dilates the pathway for sperms.
- The catheter travels from the vagina to the cervix, uterus and finally fallopian tubes and places sperms inside it for fertilization with the already present egg.
- The whole procedure of the sperm placement method requires only a few minutes (5 minutes-10 minutes).
- It is said to stay on the table in the same position for about 10 minutes-30 minutes to make sure the correct placement of sperms.
The success rate for Intrauterine insemination is dependent upon some factors which are:
- Age (women above 40 years of age are less likely to be benefited from IUI)
- No. of cycles/sessions (minimum 3 cycles are suggested to get the best possible results and every cycle increases the chance of fertilization by 20%)
- The root cause of infertility
Risks and Drawbacks:
The risks after Intrauterine insemination include:
Women are advised to take ovulation stimulating medicines that provoke the ovulation and chances of pregnancy but it can be possible that these medicines cause your ovaries to release more than one egg at a time, maybe 2, 3 or even more. IUI causes to fertilize all the eggs that are present in the fallopian tubes. This is a risk of Intrauterine insemination procedure.
Infections After IUI
Some women develop mild infections after Intrauterine insemination like cramping but are not of major concern.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
In some abnormal conditions, the ovaries might react excessively to the ovulation-inducing medicines causing the release of multiple eggs at the same time and inflammation of not only ovaries but of other organs such as kidneys, abdomen chest etc and blood clotting.
When to Consult the Doctor?
If you notice the following signs and symptoms after getting the Intrauterine insemination process done, you should visit your doctor and find the root cause behind your condition.
- Increase in size of the abdominal region
- Sudden weight gain
- frequent vomiting followed by nausea
- Pain in abdominal/pelvic area
- Fatigue, lethargy and dizziness
- Difficulty in breathing
Cost for IUI
The cost for intrauterine insemination depends upon the location, doctor, setup etc. It may vary according to the medicines and other protocols. It ranges from $460-$1500 hence it is affordable and less expensive than other procedures like In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Intrauterine insemination IUI is an alternative sperm placement method to get pregnant. It is a non-invasive and less costly procedure used for couples unable to conceive naturally due to several reasons. It follows a proper procedure and protocols. There are some risks after having Intrauterine insemination as well. The success rate for IUI depends upon some factors that are considerable. Its cost varies but is still affordable than other artificial treatment methods for fertilization like IVF.