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When a couple is having fertility issues or a woman wants to get pregnant without a partner, there are a plethora of treatment options that can help you. One of the most popular options is the Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) procedure, also known as artificial insemination.
The premise of the IUI procedure is that in a few cases, sperm requires some help in reaching the egg. During the natural conception, the semen is directly ejaculated inside the vagina. The sperm, which is present inside the semen, then has to swim inside the uterus and reach into the fallopian tubes to meet the egg. The Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) procedure involves sperm getting transferred directly inside the uterus. There is no fertilization outside of the body or egg retrieval process involved. That is why it is a less expensive and less invasive option than IVF. So, if you are thinking about going for an IUI procedure, you should know what to expect. This will help you feel better about the procedure and be confident about your decision.
In this article, we will be discussing the procedure through this step-by-step guide:
1.Preconception Counseling - It is recommended that before you start the IUI procedure, you should have a counselling session with your doctor at the infertility hospital in Hyderabad, Rainbow Hospital. This is the time when you have to focus on your mental health, adjust your diet, take prenatal vitamins, stop smoking, and ask questions about conception and healthy pregnancy. The doctor might also order some tests for determining what your specific problem is and why you are not able to conceive naturally.
2.Ensure that the female partner is producing eggs - Some women want to try the IVF procedure in their natural cycle and inseminate it while they are ovulating. So, if you have had multiple unsuccessful rounds of IUI before or have issues with ovulation, the doctors might prescribe some oral drugs used for stimulating ovulation. In the past few years, the use of injections for stimulating ovulation has reduced. This is because this increased the incidence of release of multiple eggs that resulted in higher-risk multiple pregnancies.
3.Track your cycle - To track your cycle, the doctor might use an ovulation prediction kit, or track your cervical mucus and take your temperature. As soon as you know that you are ovulating, you have to reach the fertility clinic within 24 to 36 hours.
4.Get the Sperm - In case you are having a partner or donor provide fresh sperm, they will be masturbating into the cup. However, if you are using frozen sperm or donated sperm, the clinic will be thawing the sperm for you. This sperm will be washed out for clearing any impurities. This way, you will have a sample with less fluid and more sperm. When you have a higher sperm concentration in the sample, it increases the chances of egg fertilization.
5.Insert the sperm inside the uterus - After the sperm has been prepared, the female partner will be asked to come to the clinic to start the IUI process. The doctor will insert a catheter into your vagina, through your cervix, and inside the uterus. Through this catheter, sperm will be released. The sperm will hopefully move towards the egg. Usually, the IUI procedure is painless. But, you might feel a little cramping.
6.Take a pregnancy test - Once the IUI procedure is completed, you will have to wait for 2 weeks. After that, you take a pregnancy test to see if the procedure was successful or not. If it is unsuccessful, you might choose to perform the cycle again or go with another fertility treatment option.
The reason why IUI is the first recommendation made by fertility specialists is its cost. When compared to other artificial reproductive procedures like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, surrogacy, or donor eggs, IUI is less expensive.
One downside to the IUI procedure is that in order for it to be successful, you have to be available and very flexible. For example, you only have a window of 24 to 36 hours to get to the clinic as soon as you start ovulating. Failure to do so will result in losing your chances of fertilizing the egg. There are some apps that can help in tracking your ovulation period. But, you also need your partner to be available so that he can provide the sperm sample on command and within the required time frame. Also, fertility drugs result in ovaries releasing multiple eggs. When you combine these drugs with the IUI treatment, the chances of having multiples increases.
The cause of infertility determines the success rate of the IUI procedure and how effective it is. For example, in the case of uterine endometriosis (a condition where the uterus lining starts growing inside the uterus), the success rate is 10.7%. However, in the case of cervical scarring, the success rate can reach about 55.6%.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand what the IUI procedure is like at the BirthRight Fertility by Rainbow, best infertility hospital in Hyderabad. Knowing this will help you decide if IUI is the right procedure for you to address your infertility issues and whether it fits your schedule or budget.
MBBS, DGO, Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine
Rainbow Children's Hospital, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad