For couples dealing with infertility, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the best options for realizing their dream of starting a family. IUI is a minimally invasive procedure where sperm insertion occurs directly into the uterus. The procedure itself is very simple, and the women experience it like a pap smear. Still, one should be properly prepared before undergoing this life-changing procedure with a beautiful outcome. In this blog, we will list the top 10 questions you or your partner might have while preparing for an IUI procedure. Here’s everything you need to know before signing up for an IUI procedure.
Top 10 FAQs while preparing for your IUI
At what stage of Infertility should I consider IVF?
When the doctors recommend an ART, the first thought is an IVF, but do you know that IUI is usually the first-line treatment? IUI is preferred as the first fertility treatment due to its cost-effectiveness and less invasive compared to vitro fertilisation (IVF). Some medical insurance companies do not pay for an IVF immediately without trying for an IUI.
How do I know if IUI is the right path for me?
Heterogeneous couples with male partner issues opt for an IUI. But when a donor sperm has to be used when suffering from poor sperm quality, or want to avoid genetic disease, IUI is suggested. Women with thick cervical mucus that prevents sperm from reaching the uterus can undergo IUI. Sometimes the cause of infertility cannot be determined, and IUI is the best chance. If the infertility is due to endometriosis, then also IUI is used.
What are the preparatory tests for an IUI?
Semen analysis of the male partner will dictate the sperm quantity, motility (movement) and morphology (shape). For natural conception, at least 10 million sperm per cubic centimetre (cc) in the ejaculate must be present. In those 10 million, at least 40-50% of sperm are moving properly. A minimum of 6% of the sperm should be shaped properly, or the egg might not be fertilised properly.
What medications are given during preparations of IUI?
One has to take ovulation stimulation medications to push the ovaries to produce more like two to three eggs. Multiple eggs are needed so that in case the first egg doesn’t fertilise, maybe the second or third one might do the job. IUI is also a numbers game where fertility specialists increase the number of eggs and get more sperm close to those eggs. These medications also increase the chances of multiples. The IUI procedure itself does not cause multiples; rather, the medications might cause multiple gestations. With medications in a group of those that get pregnant via medicated IUI, 92% experience single gestation, while about 8% become pregnant with multiples. These medications might not be necessary in cases of same-sex couples or single parents.
Special preparation of the semen sample
The male partner provides a fresh semen sample at the fertility clinic, or a vial of frozen donor sperm can be thawed and prepared. Then non-sperm elements in semen can interfere with fertilisation by causing allergic reactions in the woman’s body. The sample is washed so the highly active, normal sperm separates from lower-quality sperm and other elements. To achieve the best results, a small, highly concentrated sample of healthy sperm is the best choice.
Prepare yourself by monitoring your ovulation
Timing the IUI is crucial, so signs of impending ovulation are critical. An at-home urine ovulation predictor kit can detect when there is a surge or release of luteinising hormone (LH). A transvaginal ultrasound lets your doctor visualise your ovaries and egg growth. A human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) injection or medications are given to make you ovulate one or more eggs at the right time.
Determine optimal timing
A fertility specialist will conduct an IUI before ovulation—specifically, a couple of days before an egg is released. Inserting the sperm this way gives the best chance for fertilisation since the sperm can survive five days in the reproductive tract. During this period, the sperm is ready for the egg’s introduction. A detailed plan is given to you at the start of the IUI procedure. It will include all the crucial dates, milestones, doctor appointments and your follow-up schedule.
Find a good support system
Though IUI is a simple procedure, it will still be emotional for the couple to handle. So not try to take in all the stress upon yourself. Share your concerns and anxieties with your loved ones. Find a doctor with whom you are comfortable with. The clinic’s staff attitude should be pleasing to you. Make sure that the clinic has a counselling point to clarify your queries.
Enquire beforehand if there are any discounts for the IUI procedure. Most clinics offer discounted rates for second or third IUI treatments. Sort out your medical insurance beforehand and know what they will cover and what they will not. Have a near-to-accurate idea of how much it is going to cost. One should bear in mind not only the cost of the procedure but also the medication cost as well.
What are my IUI Success Rates?
The success of an IUI depends on the maternal age. Younger couples have a higher success rate due to better sperm quality and the presence of fallopian tube damage. In the case of male-factor infertility, couples have seen an 8-10% success rate per cycle. If the cause for an IUI is damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, then the success rate was much less, i.e. 5% success rate per cycle. In the case of unexplained infertility, the success was 18-20% success rate per cycle. With each cycle, you inch a bit closer to success. However, one can try for three or four IUI cycles, after which your fertility specialist may recommend in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
We at ZIVA Fertility Clinics have been administering IUI for years now. We understand every nuance of it. Our expert team comprises world-class doctors, very caring and compassionate medical staff, and embryologists. We give utmost importance to your emotional well-being along with your fertility treatment. Please visit our website https://zivafertility.com/ or contact us at +91-9100002737, +91-9392834024, Info@zivafertility.com