Intra Uterine Insemination or IUI is a very popular infertility treatment. This treatment simplifies how egg and sperm meet, which is a necessary requirement for the pregnancy to occur.
In natural pregnancies, the sperm travels through the vagina, into the uterus, and to the fallopian tubes (the tubes connecting ovaries to the uterus). If there is a viable egg present in the fallopian tube at that time, the sperm fertilizes it resulting in a possible pregnancy. With IUI, the sperm is directly placed into the uterus. This way it has to travel a shorter distance in order to reach the egg and fertilize it. Additionally, this procedure is done around the time of ovulation when the egg is released and chances of pregnancy are the highest.
This makes IUI similar to natural conception but helps give sperm a headstart by placing them nearer to the egg. This increases chances of successful fertilization and a successful pregnancy.
The IUI Treatment – Explained
The IUI Treatment involves the following steps –
- Preparing semen samples – The sperm sample is provided by the male partner and is “washed” to separate the highly active sperm from lower quality sperm and other elements. This concentrates the healthy sperm improving the chances of pregnancy.
- Ovulation monitoring – You are required to monitor the ovulation or the release of eggs from ovaries. This is done with the help of ovulation testing kits or imaging. The woman may also be given medications and injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one egg in the cycle.
- Transferring sperm to the uterus – When the timing is suitable for the transfer, the sperm is placed into the uterus. A speculum is inserted in the vagina, and healthy sperm are placed in a vial connected to a catheter (a small, thin flexible tube). The catheter is inserted into the vagina, through the opening in the cervix, and into the uterus. The sperm sample is pushed into the uterus, and the catheter is removed. The speculum is removed once the procedure is done.
The IUI treatment usually takes only a few minutes and you’re allowed to go home the same day. The doctor would ask you to come back to the clinic for the pregnancy test.
Keys to a Successful IUI
Some people may be advised to go for IUI before IVF as they might benefit from the treatment. IUI success depends upon several things, including the age of the couple, sperm count, tubal patency, or openness of the fallopian tubes. There are several things that can be done to help the IUI treatment succeed. Some of these are –
- Refrain from ejaculation as advised by your doctor – If your doctor has advised the man to abstain from ejaculating before the IUI treatment, make sure you follow the advice. This may help increase the semen which improves sperm count for IUI.
- Minimize stress – Feeling stressed about IUI can negatively impact your health. Try and manage your stress levels.
- Have a healthy diet and exercise regularly – Eating a nutrient-dense diet and doing exercise as approved by your infertility doctor would help you stay fit during the pregnancy.
- Take medications as prescribed – Your doctor may prescribe medications or hormonal injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one egg. Ensure that you are eating medications on time and following the instructions related to injections.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s advice before, during, and after the IUI treatment to maximize the chances of pregnancy.
IUI Process Day by Day
IUI involves two main steps – stimulating the growth of the eggs and introducing of sperm into the uterine cavity. Stimulating the ovaries to produce more eggs would help increase the chances of fertilization. The sperm are “washed” to separate the seminal fluid, and are then placed artificially in the uterine cavity using a thin catheter. This helps the sperm reach the ovum in the female reproductive tract faster.
The IUI process day by day can look like this –
- Day 1 – The first day of your periods
- Day 2 or 3 – Ultrasound of the ovaries
- Days 3-7 – Beginning of medications for the woman to improve IUI
- Day 10-13 – Ultrasounds to check follicles containing eggs
- Day 13 – Administration of the trigger shot which causes ovulation
- Day 14 or 15 – Washing the sperm and insemination
- Day 28 – Pregnancy test
This is only a general timeline for the IUI cycle and may vary greatly depending upon the patients and the treating doctor’s suggestions. Some people may require additional scans, tests, and consultations which would alter their IUI routine. It is important to adhere to your infertility doctor’s instructions to have a better success rate at your IUI cycle.
When to Test for Pregnancy after IUI?
Most clinics suggest at least 14 days gap between the trigger shot and the pregnancy tests after IUI. The doctor would call you to the clinic and conduct a blood pregnancy test as it can detect even low levels of hCG hormone when compared to the urine pregnancy test, the hormone that confirms a pregnancy.
A lot of people are excited and nervous about the pregnancy, and may do a 7dpo pregnancy test or 7 days post ovulation pregnancy test. This is because implantation usually occurs around this time. However, a pregnancy test at the doctor’s clinic two weeks after the trigger shot is considered the most accurate.
After the IUI treatment, waiting for the pregnancy test can seem very tough. This is valid and understandable, but it is important to try and stay as relaxed as possible. Try and join support groups, meet your loved ones and friends, or talk to your infertility doctor about how to manage your anticipation for the pregnancy test.
What to do after IUI?
After the IUI treatment at the doctor’s clinic, you may be asked to relax and rest for 20 to 30 minutes. After that, your doctor would check on you and discharge you. You may also be prescribed some medications that you need to take to improve the chances of IUI Treatment succeeding. Ensure that you understand the dosage of the medications and ask the doctor there and then if you have any questions about the medicines.
After the IUI treatment, you must follow certain instructions –
- Avoid pushing pulling, or trying to lift any heavy object
- Refrain from strenuous activities
- Never consume any medication without consulting the doctor
- Don’t bend over
- Take supplements as prescribed by the doctor
- Discuss intercourse-related doubts with the doctor
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Your doctor may suggest some specific dos and don’ts after the IUI treatment which you need to follow. It’s important to stay optimistic during and after the treatment, as it has an impact on your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Which one is for you? – IUI or IVF
Intra Uterine Semination and In Vitro Fertilization are both very popular infertility treatments. When researching different infertility treatments, IUI vs IVF is the most common dilemma that patients have. While IUI may cost less as it doesn’t involve the expertise of multiple experts, is less invasive, quicker, relatively simpler, and doesn’t take much time, and IVF success rates are much better in the long run.
However, the doctor may recommend IUI to people who are young or may benefit from IUI before giving IVF a try.
People who can benefit from IUI include –
- Unexplained infertility
- Low sperm count
- Decreased sperm mobility
- People who are younger and looking for infertility treatment
- Couples looking to conceive with donor sperm
- Males experiencing sexual dysfunction
People who can benefit from IVF include –
- People who tried IUI but weren’t able to conceive
- Older couples
- Females with blocked fallopian tubes
- Couples with genetic disorders
- Couples trying to get pregnant through surrogacy
A lot of people go for IUI cycles first, and then go for IVF cycle when an IUI treatment doesn’t benefit them.
Your infertility doctor would be best able to decide which treatment is better for you. IUI vs IVF is a debate that can go on, but a doctor who has seen your blood tests, and scans, and knows your medical history would be able to recommend which out of these two treatments can help solve your fertility issues.
Where you get your IUI Treatment done matters – How to choose a credible IUI clinic
IUI is a great treatment option for those who can benefit from it. It is important to get IUI treatment from a credible, trusted, and reliable clinic. The expertise of the doctor, the quality of imaging, and the techniques used would greatly determine the outcome of your IUI cycle. A good infertility clinic would tell you what to expect from the IUI treatment during the consultation and be absolutely transparent with you about the costs and time required. This would help you be prepared for the IUI treatment, as well as for future options such as IVF Treatment emotionally, physically, and financially.
Grace Fertility is the best IUI clinic in Gurgaon and Jammu. They have helped thousands of couples start their fertility journey. Dr. Reubina, the founding MD of Grace Fertility clinic aims to make infertility treatments accessible and affordable for all. The expertise of doctors, state-of-the-art labs, advanced technology, latest equipment, understanding staff, and patient-centric approach make Grace Fertility a well-trusted name. The treatment is transparent and financial assistance is provided to those patients who require it. The patient requirement is at the core of infertility treatment, and the staff at Grace Fertility ensures that the patients feel heard, seen, and understood. To start your journey to parenthood, book your first free consultation.