Why and when do IUI? The Benefits and Success Rates of IUI

Modern unhealthy life styles, hectic work schedules, stress factors and an improper diet have all contributed to Fertility problems. ‘1 in 6 couples face a fertility issue now’

To override fertility problems, IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) method is employed. IUI is an in-vivo technique wherein a Sperm from a Donor or Partner is placed into the female’s uterus using a flexible and thin sterile catheter to facilitate natural Fertilization.

Why is it done?

IUI technique is used when:

  • Male has low sperm count mild to moderate (Oligospermia)
  • A female has a dysfunctional cervix, cervical mucus problem, or unfavourable uterine condition
  • A male is suffering from Retrograde Ejaculation (releasing semen & sperms into the urinary bladder rather than out of the penis)
  • A man is suffering from Erectile Dysfunction (inability to maintain an erection)
  • During infertility that has ‘no apparent reason’; unexplained fertility
  • A female is suffering from mild endometriosis (when endometrium tissue lining grows outside the uterus causing pain and bleeding)

Donor sperm is used in IUI when-

  • Male partner suffers from Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or Genetic disease.
  • A female wants to get pregnant without any intercourse with a male partner.
  • A male is sterile (Azoospermia) or has a negligible sperm count (oligospermia).

When & How is it done?

  • It is useful in females under 35-40 years of age.
  • Medicines that stimulate Ovulation (release of eggs) are administered.(Natural ovulation is also an option wherein no fertility drugs are used.)
  • Meanwhile, sperms are washed off and concentrated with the healthiest sperms to ensure fertilisation.
  • After 24-36 hours of the rise in Luteinizing Hormone (LH), that indicates imminent ovulation, IUI is done.
  • The sperms are injected using a flexible catheter directly into the uterus. This is a quick process and induces minimal to no pain.
  • A Pregnancy Test, to confirm the pregnancy, is done after two weeks from insemination.

Risks Associated:

  • Slight risk of infection in Uterus and fallopian tubes is possible due to-
    • Contaminated semen sample, or
    • Contamination of sterile catheter in cervical/vaginal area.
  • Multiple Pregnancy risks; Conceiving twins or more.
  • Puncture in the uterus during IUI process.

Benefits of IUI-

IUI (Artificial Insemination) technique has numerous benefits like-

  • A female can conceive a child without any intercourse with a male if it is painful or undesired by her.
  • It enables the couples to experience parenthood who have a low sperm count or a poor sperm quality.
  • This technique is less expensive, $300-$800, as compared to IVF (In-vitro Fertilization) technique, $12,000. These are the US Figures.
  • It is close to the natural method of fertilisation.
  • It is a less invasive technique and takes barely few minutes.

 Success Rates for IUI:

Success Rates are subject to the factors like female age, the reason for infertility, sperm quality.

  • A female over 41 years old will have an extremely low success rate of getting pregnant with IUI method. Therefore, she should opt for aggressive pregnancy methods like IVF.
  • In a case of unexplained infertility, female under 35 years of age and male having healthy sperm, will have these success rates-
    • 10% chance/month of a successful pregnancy using IUI (up to 3 cycles) with Clomid
    • 15% chance/month of a successful pregnancy using IUI (up to 3 cycles) with injectable FSH meds.

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