What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?

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Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, puts sperm directly inside your uterus. It helps healthy sperm get closer to your egg. The goal for the outcome of IUI is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize a waiting egg, resulting in pregnancy. Depending on the reasons for infertility, this procedure can be coordinated with your normal cycle or fertility medications.

When Should You Do IUI?

You can do intrauterine insemination if you have the following:

1. Infertility caused by endometriosis. Using medications to obtain a good-quality egg and performing IUI is often the first treatment approach for endometriosis.

2. Subfertility for males. Your partner’s semen analysis may show below-average sperm concentration, weak movement of sperm, or abnormalities in sperm size and shape. The method can alleviate some of these problems because preparing sperm for the procedure helps separate highly motile, normal sperm from those of lower quality.

3. A sperm donor. For women who need to use donor sperm to get pregnant, this method is most commonly used to achieve pregnancy. Frozen donor sperm specimens are obtained from certified laboratories and defrosted before the procedure.

4. Infertility. The method is often done as a first treatment for unexplained infertility and ovulation-inducing medications.

5. Ovulatory factor infertility. IUI may also be executed if you have infertility caused by problems with ovulation, including an absence of ovulation or a reduced number of eggs.

6. Semen allergy. Rarely, an allergy to proteins in semen can cause infertility. Ejaculation into the vagina causes redness, burning, and swelling where the semen contacts the skin. If your sensitivity is severe, IUI can be effective since many of the proteins in semen are removed before the sperm is inserted.

7. Infertility due to cervical factors. Your cervix provides the opening between your vagina and uterus. But, if your cervical mucus is too thick, it may impede the sperm’s passage, and the cervix may also prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Insemination bypasses your cervix, depositing sperm directly into your uterus and increasing the number of sperm available to meet the egg.

What are the Side Effects of Intrauterine Insemination?

Some people experience mild side effects from fertility medications. The most common side effects after insemination is cramping and spotting. It may have a low risk of serious complications such as:

  • Infection. There is a slight risk of developing an infection due to the procedure. 
  • Spotting. Sometimes placing the catheter in the uterus causes a small amount of vaginal bleeding. However, it does not affect your chance of pregnancy. 
  • Multiple pregnancies. IUI is not associated with an increased risk of multiple pregnancies, but when matched with ovulation-inducing medications, the risk of multiple pregnancies increases significantly. 

Is There Restriction for Intrauterine Insemination?

The procedure is not permissible if you are in menopause or have diminished ovarian reserve. It is more common as women age. Severe male infertility is a factor if the sperm count or motility is very low. You also have to talk to your doctor if you have severe endometriosis. It would be best if you avoided anything that makes you feel uncomfortable after the method, but there usually are no restrictions. A pregnancy test can be taken around two weeks after IUI. PT may result in the following:

  • False-negative. If pregnancy hormones aren’t yet at measurable levels, the test result may be negative when, in fact, you are pregnant.
  • False-positive. If you are using ovulation-inducing medication such as HCG, the medication that’s still circulating in your body could indicate a pregnancy when you are not pregnant.

Your doctor may instruct you to return about two weeks after your pregnancy test for a blood test, which is more profound in detecting pregnancy hormones after fertilization. If you do not become pregnant, you might try IUI again before moving on to other fertility treatments. Often, the same therapy is used for three to six months to maximize the chances of pregnancy.

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