In recent years, medical technology has brought about one of the most popular ways of dealing with problems that hinder the occurrence of pregnancy such as poor cervical mucus, cervical scarring, cervicitis, etc, in women along with ejaculation problems, erectile dysfunction, mild sperm abnormality, etc, in men.
IUI or Intrauterine Insemination is a type of fertility treatment. It can be used with or without additional fertility treatments. In this, the semen is washed and then transferred to the uterus using a catheter. The process is carried out during the ovulation phase of the female. Additional fertility drugs also accompany the process to increase the chances of conception.
The process of IUI is used to treat various types of infertility. Usually, the process needs to be carried out in multiple cycles until the conception is successful. The treatment is the first choice of most women as it is a noninvasive method. In some special cases, the process of IUI is not successful, then invasive treatments are adopted. Such vigorous methods include in-vitro fertilization.
Intrauterine Insemination is chosen in the following cases:
Various factors play a role in the success rate of the IUI process. These factors include age, specific reason for infertility, etc. The success rate varies from 10 to 20% based on the age of the female. For a woman between the ages of 20 to 30 years, the success rate averages at 17% whereas a woman over the age of 40 will have only 5% chances of conceiving a child.
There are two major treatment cycles in IUI that can be recommended by a doctor based on the infertility problem faced by the patient. These are explained in detail below.
The Clomid drug is introduced during the ovulation process inside the female body. After this cycle; when the treatment cycle of the patient begins, the patient will undergo a blood test and an ultrasound. These will determine whether the patient has conceived or not. The test also provides information regarding whether any ovarian cysts are present in the patient.
If the results of the tests are normal, then the doctor will prescribe the required fertility drugs. These will be based on the health status of the patient. During the treatment process, the patient may get asked to undergo multiple blood tests and ultrasounds. The patient might need to monitor and record their ovulation cycle for a more accurate ovulation prediction.
Another infertility drug that is prescribed by the doctor based on the condition of the patient is gonadotropins. The procedure followed for IUI with this drug is somewhat similar to the one that is explained above. The patient will need to undergo blood tests and ultrasounds so that the doctor can confirm if the patient is pregnant or if any ovarian cysts are present in the patient.
The patient will receive fertility injections as per the condition of the patient and the observations made by the doctor. These are accompanied by regular blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the ovulation and pregnancy of the patient. To understand and determine follicle formation better, doctors use the transvaginal ultrasound technique.
The prescription of oral drugs for the patient is adjusted depending upon the hormone level of the patient and the size and growth of the follicle. When the follicle reaches the stage of maturity, the patient is offered a shot for the release of eggs. After this stage, the doctor will carry forward with the IUI procedure.
Process of Intrauterine Insemination
The process of IUI is painless in most cases. The procedure does not require the patient to take painkillers and additional medication to make the process easier. The process includes the following stages:
The partner of the patient or the sperm donor will need to prepare and deliver the semen sample at the clinic or home. However, if the semen sample is collected at home, then the donor must take care that it is provided at the IUI clinic within a few hours of collection.
In some cases, the sample is collected a few days before the IUI procedure and is frozen. When required, the sample is thawed and used accordingly.
The seminal fluid that is collected in the semen sample includes various other compounds other than sperms. To ensure that there are no impurities present in the sample, the doctor or a specialist uses a washing dish.
The patient is made to lie on the gynaecologist’s table. The semen sample is placed in the cervix using a catheter. After the insemination, the patient may experience mild cramping. When the semen reaches the uterus, the catheter is removed. The patient is made to lie for a little longer on the table to ensure that they have the strength to get up. Standing upright after the insemination does not affect the success rate of the procedure.
Based on the condition of the patient, they may be asked to take progesterone drugs or vaginal suppository after the IUI treatment. After a few weeks, the doctor can ask for a blood test, ultrasound, etc., to monitor the hCG level, estrogen, progesterone levels of the patient.
The patient can also conduct a home pregnancy test after a few weeks of the procedure to determine the status of conception.
The female patient should have healthy fallopian tubes and the male partner should not have a low sperm motility rate to ensure the success of the procedure.
The information provided here gives you a rough idea of how the IUI procedure works. One should, however, consult a doctor to understand the various aspects related to infertility. Only then would it be possible to determine the best procedure to conceive.