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What is IUI Treatment?
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a popular procedure for treating infertility. It is an Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) and is also called artificial insemination.
Under the IUI procedure, the prepared sperm is directly placed in the uterus, thereby increasing the chances of fertilization and pregnancy for some people/ couples. During sexual intercourse, ideally, only a few hundred sperm reach the egg. However, in IUI, the doctor can place millions of sperm directly in the uterus near the egg, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood of fertilisation. The IUI process is short and minimally invasive.
- First, the doctor collects a sperm sample and washes it using a procedure, and then there is a spinning process. This removes the sperm that are not motile or unhealthy.
- Next, the doctor uses a catheter to place these washed sperm directly in the uterus or womb. The sperm is in a position to reach the egg faster and quicker. This results in a higher chance of fertilizing the egg.
Timing is of the essence and should be kept in mind when considering the IUI success rate. The sperm is inserted around the time of ovulation or when an ovary releases one or more eggs. Often, IU can be timed with the menstrual cycle when the ovaries release an egg. Sometimes, fertility medicines may be used along with IUI to help the ovaries produce eggs.
Factors Affecting the Success Rate of IUI
Several factors come into play that affect the IUI success rate. These include:
This is when the reasons for a person’s infertility cannot be ascertained. The egg count may be good, the uterus is healthy, fallopian tubes are open, and there is a good sperm count. However, you are still facing fertility problems. In such cases, the success rate of IUI is 7% to 10% per cycle. If this is combined with fertility drug treatment, the success rates can go up to 15% to 25%.
One open fallopian tube:
This means that out of the two fallopian tubes, one is blocked, and the other is unblocked. Pregnancy is possible, but its success rate will depend on the location of the block on the fallopian tube.
This includes conditions like low sperm count, low sperm motility, or blocked vas deferens. When such conditions exist, the IUI procedure increases the chances of natural conception by positioning the sperm closer to the egg. The IUI success rate in male factor infertility cases is about 16.9%.
Age is a very important factor in determining the IUI success rate. Fertility in women is found to decline with age. Women over 35 years of age may experience reduced IUI success rates as the chances of conception reduce due to a decline in egg quality.
Timing of IUI procedure:
IUI has to be well planned. The doctor will ascertain when ovulation will occur and accordingly schedule the IUI procedure. The woman is treated with fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation and make the eggs mature and ready to be fertilised. The man should be prepared to provide a sperm sample. A delay in any part of this process may reduce the IUI success rate.
Lower IUI success rates occur when:
- There is moderate to severe endometriosis
- The sperm count is very low. A possible option is to use a sperm donor.
- Sperm Quality: The sperm should be healthy, motile, and with good morphology. Sperm health is of paramount importance in IUI.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOD)
- Severe fallopian tube disease
- Pelvic infections
- Uterine Health: A healthy uterus is necessary for the successful implantation of the embryo. Conditions like uterine fibroids, polyps, or infections can affect IUI outcomes.
- Cervical factors: There should be adequate cervical mucus for the sperm to travel or move. If the cervical mucus is insufficient or hostile, the sperm’s journey to the egg will be hampered.
- You are in menopause or have reduced egg reserve.
What is the Success Rate of IUI in India?
According to the Indian Medical Association, it is estimated that, on average, the IUI success rate is 10-20% per cycle. This can, however, be higher or lower based on individual circumstances.
Data has also revealed that IUI has a 10% success rate in the first cycle for couples under the age of 35. This proportion can rise to 20% depending on circumstances, such as whether or not the mother has taken hormone therapy.
How to Improve IUI Success Rate?
There are certain tips that couples can follow while undergoing IUI treatment to improve their success rates. These are the keys to a successful IUI and include:
A nutritious diet is very important in fertility treatment. After undergoing IUI, nutrition has a vital role in supporting your body’s recovery and optimizing your chances of conception. What to eat after an IUI is a vitamin-rich diet with nutrients and lean proteins, which will improve fertile health.
Exercise can make a major difference during fertility treatment as well. However, avoid strenuous exercises during fertility treatment. Yoga, hiking, and walking can be done.
Stress is the biggest threat to IUI treatment and may negatively impact its results. If you are feeling stressed, try relaxation techniques.
Avoid ejaculation before sperm collection:
For IUI treatment, men should avoid ejaculating shortly before providing their semen sample. Otherwise, the volume and number of sperm can be reduced. It is recommended to avoid ejaculating for 1-3 days before sperm collection.
Avoid drinking and smoking:
After IUI treatment, avoid smoking or drinking to avoid complications.
Keep away from harmful radiation:
After the IUI procedure, maintain a distance from any kind of harmful radiation.
Avoid taking pain relief medicines:
Taking pain relief medicines after an IUI procedure affects its success rates. Consult your doctor if you need medication for the pain.
Have sex after IUI:
Research has shown that sex after IUI may increase the chance of getting pregnant, as the sperm is pushed to the fallopian tubes during sex.
Take the supplements as prescribed by your doctor after the IUI treatment. These support the overall process and increase the chances of a successful conception.
Do not undertake long trips:
Avoiding long trips is another key to a successful IUI. Certain studies have shown that prolonged driving can increase stress, which hurts your ovaries. Long trips can harm your reproductive health.
How to Know Your IUI was A Success?
There are several IUI success symptoms, and most are the same as those of pregnancy. These include:
- Delay in the menstrual cycle
- Tender breasts
- Morning sickness
- Food cravings
- Aversion to food
- Implantation bleeding and cramping
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
IUI, a popular ART, has certain disadvantages, such as the need for ovulation stimulation and a reduced success rate for older women. However, it offers several benefits, including high success rates, reduced risk of multiple pregnancies, and affordability. There are factors and also keys for a successful IUI procedure. Your doctor is the best person to advise you at every stage of the process.