In the world of Assisted Reproductive Techniques, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has become very popular, and it is not surprising that couples think that is the only option available. But that is not true. There are many reasons for infertility. Hence the choice of treatment also varies based on the reason. What ART procedure best suits you can be better decided only after diagnosis. Today, we will discuss one of the most popular ART procedures – Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).
A simple understanding of IUI
Simply understanding, in IUI, the male semen is specially processed in the laboratory and placed directly in the female’s uterus at the time of her ovulation. In a natural pregnancy, the semen gets deposited near the cervix of the vagina. The sperm swims upwards from there, through the uterus towards the fallopian tubes. Once it reaches the fallopian, if there is an egg present there, the sperm fertilizes the egg, creating an embryo. Though it sounds simple, to hear there might be issues with the sperm’s journey. During ovulation, the female’s cervical mucus is thin and has low pH. So the sperm has a very small window to travel from the cervix area and reach the uterus before the cervix thickens or turns acidic and inhospitable to the sperm.
Who is a Candidate for IUI?
Couples without tubal disease or severe male factor infertility have the most success with IUI. But if the female has severe endometriosis or pelvic adhesions, then IUI may not be an option. If there is no success even after three or four attempts also then couples should seriously consider IVF. There are numerous situations to turn towards IUI such as:-
- Cervical scar tissue from prior surgery: a scar on the cervix blocks the sperm from moving upwards. If the female underwent any surgery on the reproductive system, then such scars are common. In such cases, IUI can be opted, provided the male sperm is healthy.
- Thick cervical mucus: Mucus is a slippery substance that allows the sperm to swim easily. If mucus consistency is thick, it causes the sperm to get stuck. Hence, it never reaches the egg making fertilization impossible. IUI works well here too.
- PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome): PCOS is a condition in which women experience irregular or no ovulation at all. After getting treated for PCOS with lifestyle changes and medication, IUI can help the sperm move along when ovulation occurs.
- A mild case of male factor infertility – Low sperm count with otherwise healthy sperm or low sperm motility with otherwise healthy sperm.
- Ejaculation issues: If natural ejaculation is not happening, then the sperm is collected medically and inserted into the woman via IUI.
- Same-sex couple: Using a donor sperm sample, a female couple can realize their dreams of having a baby. In male couples, the male sperm is inserted into a surrogate via an IUI.
- Ovarian dysfunction
- Unexplained fertility
- Couples with irregular unprotected sex due to medical or nonmedical (spiritual) reasons.
- If the couple is using a donor sperm
How IUI achieves Fertilization?
For IUI to be a success, the couple should meet the following conditions:-
- Healthy Ovulation: Women should get treatment for any ovulation issues such as PCOS etc., and prepare themselves for IUI. Some women may need ovarian stimulation.
- Unobstructed Fallopian tubes: either one of the fallopian tubes should be healthy for the IUI to succeed.
- Healthy and robust uterus: There should not be any uterine infections, hereditary issues, ovarian surgeries or injury to the uterus. In such cases, the couple can think of surrogacy.
- In IUI, the first leg in the journey is eliminated, which gives the sperm more time to find its way to the fallopian tubes.
- In IUI, the number of sperm travelling are also enhanced.
- The timing of IUI is set so that the sperm travels towards the fallopian tubes when there is almost a sure chance of an egg being present there.
At ZIVA fertility center, we have years of experience in all types of ART. We give thorough counselling to the couple and fully understand the cause of their infertility. We assess the couple for IUI before proceeding with the procedure and set realistic expectations. Please reach us today at 91-9100002737, +91-9392834024, Info@zivafertility.com and let us help you.