Intrauterine insemination also known as artificial insemination is the process of placing processed, concentrated mobile sperm samples through the cervix ( mouth of the uterus) into the uterine cavity of the female partner around the time of ovulation. The aim of the procedure is to place a concentrate of motile sperms as near the egg as possible ( bypassing some of the possibly hostile areas of vagina and cervix ) as close to the time of ovulation as possible.
During the IUI procedure, a very thin flexible tube ( catheter ) is passed through the cervix inside the uterus of the female partner. The catheter contains processed sperm which enters the uterus and meets the eggs inside. Once they meet, fertilization happens after which the embryo gets implanted onto the wall of the uterus and the normal course of pregnancy continues. The procedure increases the chances of pregnancy compared to intercourse because the sperm sample is processed in the laboratory to separate motile sperms and placed directly inside the uterus as well as the ovary is being stimulated to produce more eggs ( generally two ).
IUI is recommended in the early stages of infertility treatment. It’s usually for people who have a low sperm count, sperm mobility or have problems with intercourse. It is suitable for women who suffer from mild endometriosis and other ovulation issues. IUI can be combined with ovulation stimulation to get the best results. IUI is a relatively safe procedure which is also useful in treating cases of unexplained infertility. It can also be used for couples opting for donor semen (eg. azoospermia or genetic disease in male partner). IUI is not recommended for women with blocked tubes, advanced maternal age, low ovarian reserve, or poor semen count. In such cases, IVF may be recommended by your fertility specialist.
A detailed evaluation is performed to determine the cause of infertility and to decide the line of treatment. If IUI is the preferred treatment, details of the procedure are discussed in detail, consents taken and appropriate medications prescribed.
The female partner must take oral and/or injectable fertility medications from day 2-3 of the menstrual cycle for 5-6 days to stimulate growth and maturation of the eggs. Injections are usually given in the stomach or upper thighs. The length of the medication varies from 5 to 8 to 12 days.
Ultrasound and monitoring of vitals
While on medication, it’s important to monitor the ovaries and eggs every 2-3 days with the help of sonography and sometimes blood tests. This is to ensure that the response is adequate.
Induction of Ovulation
Ovulation is the release of eggs from the ovaries. Once the follicle ( fluid-filled sac which contains the egg ) reached the correct size on sonography, a trigger injection is administered at a specific time. This causes ovulation to occur in about 36 – 40 hours.
Semen is collected from the male partner. The semen undergoes a process of sperm washing, through which a concentrate of motile sperms is separated. This processed sperm sample is then placed directly inside the uterus using a thin flexible tube. It’s a simple, quick, and relatively painless procedure that barely lasts for a few minutes. The sperm and egg are allowed to fertilize on their own. A medication to support the development of pregnancy may be prescribed after the procedure. If IUI fertilization does not succeed, the process may be repeated again once for another IUI cycle until the woman gets her periods.
To check if pregnancy has taken place or not, a blood or urine test is carried out around 2 weeks after the IUI. If this is positive, sonography is performed one week later to confirm pregnancy. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, routine antenatal check-ups are done to monitor the pregnancy. This means that the IUI cycle is complete and successful.
The success rate of Intrauterine insemination depends on the age of the wife, indication for performing IUI, response to medications, sperms count, etc. In general, the success rate is around 16 to 18 %.
My husband and I are very happy with the treatment we received. It was not that expensive either. We got a lot of confidence and we’re definitely planning to come back soon.
After 20 years of marriage, we have been blessed with a baby girl. This blessing is not only from God but also from Dr. Manish Banker. We had tried various options and had undergone many treatments at different hospitals in Mumbai, but all efforts were in vain. After all these failed efforts, finally, Dr.Manish performed a miracle. I congratulate Dr. Banker for the astonishing success of 30,140 dreams
The journey from being an employee to a patient was smooth and ultimately joyful as we were blessed with our first child. While the journey had its own set of anxieties, all is well that ends well. I am very grateful to the Centre in general and to each and every staff member in particular who played a very important role during the process. I wish others like me the best of life. Have faith and everything will turn out just fine.
If you or your partner is suffering from low sperm count, low sperm mobility or conditions such as hostile cervical issues or cervical mucus problems and even unexplained infertility, it’s a good idea to consider going for an IUI treatment. In couples opting for donor sperm insemination, IUI is offered.
Most women consider an IUI to be perfectly safe and painless. Sometimes, you may experience cramps, but that’s mainly due to ovulation rather than the procedure itself. The insertion of the catheter is barely felt since the tube is very thin and the cervix is already slightly opened thanks to ovulation. It’s important to time the procedure right, to avoid discomfort. Your fertility specialist will help you with that.
You just need to lie down for a couple of minutes after the procedure. Since the cervix doesn’t remain open, you’re safe to go home and resume your routine activities.
Once the sperm is safely inside the uterus, it cannot fall out. However some women may experience some wetness due to the mucus from the cervix. But that’s nothing to worry about.
Worldwide, the success rate stands at about 16 – 18 %. The success rate of IUI depends upon the age of the female partner, ovarian reserve, reproductive history and the semen count. Generally, the success rate is around 15-18% in women <35 years and goes upto 30-35% after 3 cycles of IUI. In women >35 years, the success of one IUI is about 10%.
You may experience mild pain and spotting on the day of the procedure, but other than that there are no major complications. Around 15% of patients have multiple pregnancies. Very rarely, a patient may respond excessively to medications resulting in a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). If this happens, the cycle may be cancelled or converted into an IVF cycle.
Generally, the fertility specialists offer upto 3 attempts or cycles IUI before offering advanced treatments like IVF. In some cases, further evaluation like tubal testing may be done after failure of 1 or 2 IUIs. Beyond 3 attempts, the chances of conception in IUI are very low. In such cases, opting for IVF will give a better pregnancy chance.