What is intra uterine insemination

Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI)

The only purpose of sexual intercourse is not only to give and receive physical and mental pleasure. It is also a means to conceive children so that the family can be grown. And if for some reason conception is not possible then it leads to feelings of inadequacy and sadness.
Here are three principal reasons why conception might not be possible :

  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Infertility in male partner
  • A cervical mucus that rejects sperms or eggs and prevents fertilization

One of the most common fertility treatments for such situations is referred to as intrauterine insemination, or IUI. In simple terms, this procedure is carried out by sending specially cleaned semen into the uterus directly using a slender catheter. Intrauterine insemination can be carried out by itself, or in conjunction with fertility drugs. IUI is also known more commonly as artificial insemination. Based on doctor’s advice, any couple could go in for IUI, but women suffering from endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes are advised not to use this procedure. IUI is also not advised if there is prior history of infection of the pelvic region.

Intrauterine insemination is usually carried out in specialized fertility clinics. The sperm to be inseminated could either be from the woman’s partner himself, or from a third party sperm donor. In case a sperm donor is involved, the sperm sample would need to be collected in advance and refrigerated, so that it can be thawed and prepared for the procedure on the day IUI will be done. The same process would be needed if the male partner would not be available on the day of IUI, and he can provide his sperm earlier. If the partner is available, then the sperm can be collected from him on the day of the procedure and used right afterwards once cleaning is done. The actual procedure is pretty simple and manual in nature. The washed semen is put into a thin tube which would be inserted into the uterine passage. The patient would need to continue in a supine position for some time after the procedure, after which she can just get up and leave.

Because of the rather basic nature of this procedure, and one that doesn’t involve any spilling of blood, hence there are very few possible risks from the procedure itself, except for some mild cramps. The only risk could be from the fertility drugs, if they are also being used as part of the procedure. Apart from medicine, the other risk is of the procedure getting cancelled because too many follicles are present. If that happens, then the patient and her partner need to wait for the next ovulation cycle, and abstain from sexual intercourse in the interim.

Very often, intrauterine insemination is done along with intake of fertility drugs. Some common fertility drugs are Clomid or Letrozole, and Gonadotropins. One risk of using gonadotropins is that the patient might develop symptoms of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome, or OHSS.

Many couples have benefited by using intrauterine insemination, although the success rate varies depending on several factors.