What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?
IUI is Intrauterine Insemination and it is one of the commonest procedures performed in fertility centres.
There are certain reasons why IUI is adviced:
- Unexplained infertility of longer than 2 years duration
- Where the male has a slight deficit in seminal parameters
- In couples who have a sexual dysfunction
- The male partner has no sperm or has Azoospermia
- When the couple have chosen donor IUI
- The female partner has mild and minimal Endometriosis
- The female partner has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Completed a few cycles of ovulation induction with timed intercourse which have not worked
There are certain prerequisites for IUI to be performed:
- The first is the woman needs to be capable of producing an egg
- The man needs to have a total motile sperm count, which is a calculation we make of over 5 million sperm
- At least one of the Fallopian tubes need to be open or patent
Process of IUI Video
We start stimulation on Day 2 with usually oral medication. This is to encourage the growth of follicles and follicles are fluid filled sacs within which the egg is contained.
We monitor the growth of these follicles and after a few days, we may add a few injections or Gonadotropin injections to make the follicles grow bigger.
Once the follicles have reached the desired size, then we plan the trigger injection. The trigger injection causes the follicle or follicles to rupture and release the egg. And this occurs about 36 hours after the trigger injection.
After 36 hours, we plan for IUI. We collect sperms from the husband and wash the sperms so as to remove dead sperm and debris. And place or inject very gently actively motile sperm into the uterine cavity. So this helps to increase the chance of a pregnancy.
Regarding the success rate of IUI, at best it is about 10 to 12% per cycle and when performed for 3 cycles continuously, it may go up-to 25-30%. Usually we do about 3 or 4 cycles, and if it hasn’t worked then we move into IVF Treatment and it tends to work better in younger women.
FAQ: About IUI, Procedures, Success Rates, IUI Charges
When is the best timing for an IUI?
IUI is usually done anytime between 24 hours to 40 hours from the time of administration of the trigger.
What is the highest sperm count required for IUI?
Total motile sperm count of 5 million and above is preferred for an IUI.
Before moving on to IVF, how many IUI should I try?
It can be considered only on a case to case basis depending upon the ovarian reserve, age and sperm count. Usually the norm is 4 – 6 but sometimes less numbers are advised based on the above factors.
Should I take it easy after an IUI?
Having undergone an IUI doesn’t impose any restrictions on every day routine apart from avoiding strenuous workouts if it’s part of routine.
What does an IUI feel like?
Most women experience a painless procedure. It can be compared to getting a pap smear done. The catheter used for IUI is a very thin. The discomfort or cramp is usually transient.
Where is the sperm collected?
Usually, the collection of semen sample will be done in the hospital. Once the semen sample is collected, the process of sperm washing may take anytime between 45 minutes to 2 hours.
Is IUI painful?
IUI is not a painful procedure. Some women may feel a mild discomfort or cramp but that is transient.
Can IUI be done at home?
No, this can only be done under a medical setup.
What is the kind of monitoring done for an IUI cycle?
The growth of follicle(s) will be monitored throughout by serialized scans and once the follicles reach the appropriate size, injection for rupturing of the follicles will be administrated. And the IUI procedure will be done post confirmation of the rupture.
How successful is IUI?
The success rate of IUI lies in between 8 – 12%. In IUI, the wasted and densely concentrated sperm sample is put inside the uterus. The rest of the events intended to result in pregnancy cannot be controlled.
When there is not a sperm count problem, does IUI make sense?
Sometimes, IUI will be done even if the sperm count is normal like in cases of unexplained infertility and post failure of timed intercourse.
What are the risks involved in IUI?
IUI per say does not impose any risk to the patient.
What size of follicles is considered mature?
1.8 – 2.4 cm is considered normal.
After an IUI, is bleeding common?
It’s not common, and it can happen occasionally, if there is an inflammation or erosion on the cervix which is the mouth of the uterus.
Before and after the medication, can I take pain medication?
Post rupture of the follicles, there might be pain for some women and in this instance medication such as Paracetamol can be taken. NSAID like Brufen are better avoided.
What does sperm washing mean?
Sperm washing procedure is usually done prior to the IUI by which sperms are separated from the seminal fluid.
How much does IUI cost?
After tubule ligation i.e. having tubes tied, does IUI work?
IUI can only be performed if one of the tubes are patent or indicated.
How long does washed sperm live?
The washed sperm can live up to 24 – 72 hours.
After an IUI, how soon can I go swimming?
Swimming is not contraindication, however it’s best avoided on the day of the IUI.