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Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine Insemination is one of the easiest Assisted Reproductive Technologies. It can be either husband sperm insemination or donor sperm insemination, alternative insemination, or artificial insemination.

IUI treatment Shachi Women's Hospital

IUI treatment

IUI treatment can be suitable for those who are looking for a quick and less invasive fertility treatment. This procedure is low-tech and less expensive, which makes it preferable.

But it is important to note that IUI is not suitable for everyone. It is always wise to ask your doctor what treatment works best for you.  Though it is easy to fertilize the egg in this process, it does not mean that it has a 100% success rate. The pregnancy depends on various other factors as well. Each woman is different, and IUI works differently for each woman.

What is IUI?

Intrauterine Insemination or IUI is one of the fertility treatments in which the sperm from the male body is directly injected into the uterus. It cuts down the time and the distance the sperm has to travel to fertilize the egg, making it easier for an egg to be fertilized. Though it sounds one-step and straightforward procedure, it actually includes specific steps. Some examinations are done before injecting the sperm into the uterus.

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When recommended?

IUI treatment is recommended for those looking for a less invasive and less expensive procedure. It is mainly recommended for women under 35 as the success rates are higher—the success rate decreases as a woman cross 40.  There are other conditions as well in which IUI treatment might be recommended. These are-

  1. Donor sperm: – IUI treatment is most used for women who want to use donor sperm. In this case, frozen donor sperm specimens are collected from labs and thawed before the procedure.
  2. Unexplained Infertility: –It is used to treat unexplained infertility, which means that the specific cause of infertility is unknown.
  3. Endometriosis: – Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissues that build the inner lining of the uterus start to grow outside the uterus, which disturbs the function of the ovaries fallopian tubes, and uterus. IUI with medications is the first approach to treat infertility caused by endometriosis.
  4. Mild male factor infertility: – The procedure of IUI treatment helps to eliminate the abnormalities of sperms such as abnormalities in shape, size, mobility, etc. It separates the healthier sperms to be injected into the uterus from the lower quality sperms.
  5. Cervical factor infertility: – Cervix is the tissue that connects the vagina and the uterus. The mucus produced by the cervix during ovulation creates a suitable environment for the sperm to reach the fallopian tubes. Certain conditions such as mucus being too thick or scarring in the cervix because of biopsy cause infertility. As the sperm doesn’t need to swim to the uterus in this procedure, it can help to treat infertility.
  6. Ovulatory factor infertility: – Absence or less frequency of ovulation causes infertility, and IUI can be a suitable treatment.
  7. Semen allergy: – Some proteins present in the semen can be allergic, leading to infertility. As many of the proteins are removed in the examination process, IUI can be suitable for this kind of infertility.

The Procedure

  1. Ovulation: – As the first step, the patient would be given certain medications to help her body produce eggs that can be used for fertilization; this process is called Ovulation.
  2. Sperm washing:– The next step is sperm washing; in this process, the sperms are collected and prepared for insemination. Sperm washing pulls out the healthy sperms eliminating those of low quality. It also washes out chemicals from the semen, which can cause allergic reactions.
  3. Insemination: – As the final step, a thin, flexible tube with an attached syringe is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, and the sperm is injected into the uterus. Pregnancy occurs once the egg is fertilized and attached to the uterus lining.

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Success rate

The success rate of IUI treatment depends on several factors like the woman’s age and other underlying causes of infertility.

  • The success rate of IUI for a 30-year-old woman with PCOS is 20% per month with medication.
  • Drug assisted IUI treatment increases the success rate up to 15 to 20%.

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  • Less invasive: – IUI treatment is less invasive than other Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
  • Less Expensive: – Unlike other fertility treatments, IUI is quite affordable.
  • Enhances sperm quality: – The sperm washing procedure helps select healthy sperm, which leads to a healthy pregnancy.
  • Quick Procedure: – IUI does not require much time; it takes 5-10 minutes.
  • Not Painful: – As it does not include any surgical intervention, it’s not painful.

Risk and side effects

Though IUI is a safer and more convenient infertility treatment for most people, it comes with a few shortcomings, but the right guidance is always enough to eliminate them.

  1. Multiple pregnancies: – As there is no surety how many eggs would be fertilized, there are chances of multiple pregnancies, which leads to certain risks for the mother and the baby, such as premature birth, early labor, miscarriage, etc.
  2. Side effects of the fertility drugs: – The patient might feel some side effects of the fertility drugs given, like headache, nausea, swelling or rashes around the injected area, etc.

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