What is IUI?
Intrauterine insemination IUI also called artificial insemination, is a basic step in the direction of fertility treatments.
The treatment can be done using a partner’s (husband) sperm or sperm from a donor.
This low-tech process can be done in two ways: natural and ovulation induction.
Firstly, the body is monitored for ovulation, and when the LH surge is higher, one should contact the fertility clinic for further instructions.
They will inform you when and how to collect a sperm sample.
Who should consider IUI?
The men who are not able to ejaculate in the vagina.
Following are the causes of this failure
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Retograde ejaculation (sperms are released backward into the bladder instead of the urethra)
- Low sperm count or poor-quality sperm
- Mild endometriosis
- Cervical mucus hostility or poor cervical mucus
- Ovulatory disorders
Requirements in Males – IUI will be ineffective where the male has low sperm count or poor sperm shape.
For this, sperm tests should be done.
Requirements in Females – There should be no fertility problems.
Tests should give proof of normal ovulation, open fallopian tubes, and a normal uterine cavity.
IUI will not help a woman with severely damaged or blocked fallopian tubes.
It is done by threading a very thin, flexible catheter through the cervix and injecting washed sperm straight into the uterus, taking just a few minutes.
If the cervix is hard to reach, then a tenaculum is used to hold it, making the process a bit uncomfortable.
When is sperm collected for IUI?
The sperm is usually collected through ejaculation into a sterile collection cup or in collection condoms.
Most of the clinics want the semen within a half-hour of ejaculation, so if one lives close then the sperms are collected at home, but if not, one must go to the clinic and do it in a private setting.
After this washing is done and the sperms are used for IUI.
What is the best time for IUI?
As per experts, within 6 hours of either side of ovulation, IUI should be performed.
When timing is based on an hCG injection, the process is done between 24 and 48 hours later.
Post-hCG, the timing of IUI is around 36 hours or 24 hours, while others also do it in 40-42 hour
Some experts base the timing on a natural LH surge (within 24-36 hours).
The two planned inseminations are timed between 12 and 48 hours after the surge is detected.
The egg is only viable only for 24 hours after its release.
- Drug treatment is done for encouraging two or three eggs to mature.
- The treatment is monitored for measuring the growth of follicles, individualize drug doses, and to prevent any side effects.
Moreover, the reduction of the risk of multiple pregnancies is also checked.
The doctor does blood tests for measuring estrogen concentrations and use ultrasound for tracking the development of follicles.
- When two or three follicles reach the required size, hormone hCG is injected to induce ovulation.
- Sperm sample (collected in the ovulation morning, washed and concentrated) are inseminated later that day.
Using a catheter, the doctor inserts the sperm through the cervix and into the uterus of the female partner.
- Tests of potential pregnancy and early ultrasounds are done.
Benefits, Success rate and Support for IUI Treatment
The success rates IUI falls between 5 -15 percent per cycle, on the woman’s age (up to 35 years), the sperm count of the male partner and the female’s tubes that should be healthy.
Generally, three cycles of IUI are tried, if they fail, then advanced methods are recommended.
IUI is a simple and inexpensive form of therapy.
Thus it should be tried first, then going on to more expensive options.
In comparison to other countries, Iran offers treatment at affordable rates.