• What is IUI?

    Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a process where sperm is specially prepared in the lab to concentrate those with the best quality and then directly placed into the woman's uterus around the time of ovulation.

  • CAN IUI HELP ME GET PREGNANT?

    IUI is usually straightforward and painless, but it's no longer recommended as a first line fertility treatment. It may help you as a couple if:

    • You and your partner find it very difficult or are unable to have sex because of disability, injury, or a psychosexual problem.
    • You need extra help to conceive; for example, if your partner has a sexually transmitted viral infection and needs sperm washing to protect you and your potential child from the disease.

    Some fertility problems, such as mild endometriosis, a low sperm count or poor-quality sperm, and unexplained infertility used to be treated with IUI. However, it is no longer recommended for these problems, as research found that success rates using IUI were no better than just carrying on trying to get pregnant naturally.

    If you and your husband haven't conceived after two years of trying, your doctor is likely to recommend IVF. If you have any cultural or religious objections to IVF, then you may still be offered IUI.

  • CAN IUI BE DONE IF THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH MY FALLOPIAN TUBES?

    For IUI to work, your fallopian tubes must be open and healthy. If your doctor suspects that you have tubal damage or if you don't get pregnant within few cycles of IUI, she/he may recommend that you have what's called a tubal patency test. The doctor will discuss different ways of checking the tubal patency and advise the best procedure that would be suitable for you.

  • IS IUI DONE AT A SPECIFIC TIME DURING THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE?

    If you are not using fertility drugs, IUI will be performed between day 12 and 16 of your monthly cycle – with day one being the first day of your period. You will be given blood tests or urine tests to identify when you are about to ovulate.

    Otherwise, if you use fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation, vaginal ultrasound scans are used to track the development of your eggs. As soon as an egg is mature, you are given hormone injection to stimulate its release.

  • HOW IS IUI CARRIED OUT?

    This procedure is performed using a simple, minimally invasive (similar to having a pap/cervical smear) fine catheter and takes only a few minutes. As you lie down on your back, your doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina to keep your vaginal walls apart. Using a catheter (soft flexible tube) through your cervix, your doctor will then put the sperm directly into your womb near fallopian tube. This is the passage the egg travels along from an ovary to your womb. The whole process only takes a few minutes and is usually painless. Some women may experience a temporary, menstrual-like cramping. You may want to rest for a short time before going home.

    Your doctor will probably ask you to lie still for about 10 to 15 minutes after IUI, as this improves your chance of conception. Then you're free to carry on life as normal. You'll be able to take a pregnancy test in about two weeks.

    For men:
    You will be asked to produce a sperm sample on the day the treatment takes place. The sperm will be washed to remove the fluid surrounding them and the rapidly moving sperm will be separated out from the slower sperm. The rapidly moving sperm will be placed in a small catheter to be inserted into the womb.

  • WHAT ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF IUI?
    • Natural IUI in which insemination takes place after monitoring a natural cycle
    • Stimulated IUI in which the chances of success may be increased if the insemination is combined with small doses of fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation.

    In both options, the development of the ovarian follicles is monitored using ultrasound and the insemination is timed to take place around ovulation (either 24-36 hours after a natural surge is seen using urinary ovulation kits or 24-36 hours after administration of the hormone injection HCG, which triggers ovulation).

    The male partner is scheduled to produce a semen sample a few hours before the insemination to allow time to prepare it appropriately.

  • WHO BENEFITS FROM IUI?

    Although IUI may improve your chances over natural "timed intercourse", it is much less successful than IVF. Different research and guidelines increasingly recommend proceeding straight to IVF after a period of trying to conceive with unexplained subfertility, mild male problems or mild endometriosis where IUI might have previously been initially suggested.

  • WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE OF IUI?

    It is difficult to assess success rates for intrauterine insemination (IUI) because success depends upon the cause of infertility and whether fertility drugs are used to stimulate egg production. It also depends on the women's age and her ovarian reserve.

  • ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO IUI?

    Intrauterine Insemination itself is normally quite straightforward – it is usually fairly painless, although you may experience mild cramps similar to period pains. However, the risks associated with the fertility drugs that are often used with this treatment can include reactions to the drugs and certain pregnancy problems. Although less invasive than IVF, it may be uncomfortable if it proves difficult to insert the catheter. And the procedure may cause cramps similar to period pains.

    With stimulated IUI, you also run the risk of multiple pregnancy. The use of ultrasound scanning before ovulation means that if there are more than two mature egg follicles present, the cycle can be abandoned. Your fertility specialist should discuss all risks with you before beginning your treatment.

    With stimulated cycles, there is a very small risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS). This serious condition happens when your ovaries respond too well to the fertility drugs that cause you to ovulate. The fertility drugs used for IUI are unlikely to cause a severe case of OHSS. However, a mild case may give you a bloated and uncomfortable tummy or make you feel sick.

    It is vital that you seek medical help if you think you are experiencing OHSS. Your doctor will probably advise cancelling your IUI treatment for this cycle. That's because the risks of conceiving a multiple pregnancy will be too great, and OHSS can sometimes worsen in response to natural pregnancy hormones.

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