Also called artificial insemination, Intrauterine insemination is an infertility treatment done to help a childless couple to realize their dream of parenthood. IUI procedure involves putting the sperm directly inside the uterus of the woman when she is ovulating. The fertilization is made easier as the distance sperm need to cover to reach the egg is shortened significantly.
To increase the chances of pregnancy, the sperm taken for the IUI procedure is washed and concentrated, i.e, a highly concentrated amount of healthy and motile sperm is collected from the semen, from the partner, or the donor. In case, a female partner is not ovulating during the time of Intrauterine Insemination, she is given certain fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation.
IUI treatment is a cost-effective, and less invasive option, done to increase the chances of pregnancy for couples who are unable to conceive a child.
Since IUI is a less invasive procedure and can treat numerous fertility issues, it is tried in multiple cycles before opting for other treatments which are more invasive like- IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), etc.
IUI is done to couples who have infertility issues like-
The Cervix located at the bottom end of the uterus produces mucus. This mucus production increases at the time of ovulation, which helps the sperm to travel smoothly from the vagina to the fallopian tubes, where it gets fertilized with the egg to form an embryo. But, if there is a problem in cervical mucus like more thickness, the sperm will not be able to reach the egg and fertilization will not occur.
In certain cases, where the couple decides on using donor sperm instead of self sperm, IUI is used to conceive. If frozen donor sperm is used, they are firstly thawed and used in the IUI procedure.
Endometriosis is a painful situation, in which the tissue present inside the lining of the uterus wall grows outside of it. For mild endometriosis, medication is used to get an egg of good quality, and then IUI is performed.
IUI procedure is done by using sperm that have good quality and motility, this helps in overcoming sperm-related male infertility issues like low sperm- quality, quantity, and motility.
When fertility specialists are unable to identify the cause of infertility, IUI is often used as the first alternative to help achieve pregnancy. Ovulation induction medicines might also be used.
Other reasons for using IUI treatment are- problems in ovulation, semen allergy, and erectile dysfunction.
IUI is a preferred choice of treatment for same-sex couples, single parents, and couples who do not want their future child to inherit any genetic defect from the male partner.
Sperm collection and concentration-
Intrauterine Insemination is a safe and easy procedure with minimal complications and risks involved. These risks are-
IUI’s success rate is similar to the success rate of a fertile couple achieving pregnancy via the natural method. There are 10-20 percent chances of conception with a single cycle of IUI. As the number of IUI cycles increases, the chances of conception also increases. The use of 4 to 5 cycles of IUI increases the success rate to as high as 75%.
However, there are certain factors that determine the success rate of IUI- age of the woman, sperm quality, and medical problems. The success rate in IUI for women above the age of 40 is as low as 8%, thus IUI is not recommended for women above 40. IUI’s success rate is highest in the case of unexplained infertility and dis ovulatory infertility.
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