Intrauterine insemination IUI is a fertility treatment consisting of the placing of a sperm inside of a woman’s uterus in order to facilitate the process of fertilization. The purpose of intrauterine insemination is to increase the number of sperm which reach the fallopian tubes, and thus, subsequently ends up increasing the chances of fertilization. Intrauterine insemination provides the sperm with an advantage through the giving of a head start, however, it is still required for a sperm to reach and fertilize the egg itself. This is an option which is lesser in terms of invasiveness and expense in comparison to in vitro fertilization. IUI is usually considered in a case in which there is a low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility, however, it is resorted to in the following situations too: when there is unexplained infertility, a hostile cervical condition, cervical scar conditions from past procedures which might hinder the ability of the sperm to enter the uterus, and lastly, when there is an ejaculation dysfunction.
Intrauterine insemination works as follows: The procedure is performed around the time of ovulation, usually around 24 – 36 hours after the surge in the LH hormone which indicates that ovulation will occur soon. Following this, a semen sample is washed by the lab, the purpose of which is to separate the semen from the seminal fluid. A catheter will then be used to insert the sperm directly into the uterus. This process results in the maximization of sperm cells present in the uterus, and therefore, leads to an increase in the likelihood of conception. This procedure is merely a few minutes long and involves very little discomfort. After this, the next step is to remain on the look-out for signs and indications of pregnancy.
Intrauterine insemination can result in numerous side effects, including the following:
Mild cramping might be experienced during the procedure, and while it is rare, a severe infection could possibly occur after the completion of the procedure as well. However, fertility drugs are prescribed after intrauterine insemination and these can have various side effects, including hot flashes, mood swings and depression, nausea, headaches, visual disturbances, ovarian cysts, and swelling or rashes around the site of the procedure. Furthermore, there is the risk of multiples as well which might be welcome, or not preferred by parents, and therefore, they should consult their doctor about the possibility of this beforehand.
The success of intrauterine insemination is dependent on multiple factors. These consist of if the IUI procedure has been performed each month, and secondly, depending on the age of the female age, the reason behind IUI being used, whether fertility drugs were used etc. Pregnancy rates from IUI are lower in comparison to rates from IVF procedures. It is important to keep in mind that IUI is not recommended for the following patients: Those who have a history of severe disease with their fallopian tubes, those with a history of pelvic infections, and lastly, those with moderate to severe endometriosis.
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