Intrauterine Insemination - Procedure Cost Risks and Success Rate of IUI
Reproductive health is something that many people don’t care until they are unable to conceive and have children. At times, many couples have a hard time conceiving naturally due to various reasons such as underlying medical conditions, age and lifestyle factors.
However, medical science today has advanced and there are now assisted reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination that has increased the chances of having a child to a large extent.
The most common method used today to treat infertility in couples is intrauterine insemination or more commonly known with the acronym IUI. This procedure involves introducing sperm directly into the uterus during the time of ovulation in the hope that it will fertilize with the egg waiting in the fallopian tube.
In earlier methods, sperm were placed in the vagina. Though it was an easier method, the success rates were not as high as compared to the current procedure. Often, during fertility treatment, the doctor may suggest going for intrauterine insemination in order to send more sperm to the fallopian tubes for fertilization.
Who needs Intrauterine insemination?
There are several factors that determine who should undergo this treatment.
- Mostly, couples who aren’t able to conceive naturally or facing unexplained fertility opt for this option
- This treatment method is often used by same sex couples as they can’t conceive naturally
- Single woman who want to become pregnant without the involvement of a male partner
- Underlying cause of infertility such as endometriosis
- Male infertility factor where sperm count is low or shape and motility is not adequate
- When cervical mucus is thick and scant
- Cervical scars formed by earlier surgery
IUI is not recommended to woman with:
- History of pelvic infection
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Severe case of endometriosis
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Preparing for IUI
The doctor will be conducting several tests such as ultrasound, blood tests as well ensuring you are properly ovulating before the procedure. As your partner will be providing the semen sample, you both would be advised not to have sex 2-5 days before the treatment.
Your partner will provide a sample either at doctor’s clinic or the donor sperm can be frozen and thawed before using it. To avoid any reactions in the woman’s body and interference in the fertilization, the sample will then be washed in a lab to separate healthy sperm from low quality sperm and other unwanted elements.
What is the procedure of Intrauterine Insemination?
Most of the time, IUI is performed a day or two after the doctor confirms that you are ovulating. This is the most optimal time for the procedure. Once all set, the doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina to check the cervix. Before inserting the speculum, the doctor may use some cleaning solution to clear the cervical area and the tissue surrounding the vagina.
By this time, the doctor should have drawn washed sperm into a syringe that is attached to a small flexible catheter (tube). Then this catheter is inserted into the vagina and through the cervix and the sperm is injected into the uterus. After injecting the sperm into the uterine cavity, the catheter and the speculum will be removed.
After the procedure, you will be told to lie on your back and rest for half an hour. This is to give enough time to the spermfor working. Once you are done with the procedure, you can continue your normal activities. Depending on your case, you might be put on fertility drugs before the procedure.
The doctor may also order blood test a week after the treatment to check the levels of hormones. After 2 weeks, the doctor might tell you to undergo pregnancy blood test or self-check at home using kit.
Risks related to IUI - Is Intrauterine insemination safe?
When it comes to risks or side effects, intrauterine insemination is a safe procedure. It’s a pretty simple procedure and it’s normal to feel a little nervous. The risks of getting severe complications are very low. Some women may develop:
- Mild infection
- Little amount of vaginal bleeding during the insertion of the catheter
- Multiple pregnancies
Success rates of IUI
The success rates depend on a lot of factors.
- The success rate is 10-20 percent in women aged less than 35 years, 10 percent at the age of 35-40 and less than 5 percent above the age of 40
- Severity of endometriosis
- Sperm quality
- Amount of damage to the fallopian tubes
- When IUI is combined with IVF treatment, the success rate or pregnancy lies between 8-17 percent.
According to a study conducted on 1,000 IUI cycles, age and cause of fertility affected the success rate drastically. Below are the findings of the study and the success rates per couple in the descending order.
- In woman with fertility problem related to cervix, the success rate was about 55 percent
- In woman with ovulation problem, the success rate was about 47 percent
- Success rate was approx. 41 percent in case of male infertility
- About 37 percent of success rate was when sperm count was low
- About 35 percent couples were got success where cause of infertility was not known
- In case of poor sperm motility, the success rate was found to be nearly 13 percent
- In woman with severe case of endometriosis, the success rate was the lowest i.e. about 10 percent
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What is the cost of IUI in India?
The cost of IUI is relatively very low in India. A cycle of IUI will cost you as low as Rs. 5,000, however, this cost excludes the money you will spend on ultrasound, medicines and other tests before the procedure. But if you compare it with the cost IVF which can go in lakhs, you can easily realize the popularity of IUI.
Though in terms of success rates, IVF is a much better choice, it can cost significantly high compared to IUI. The intrauterine insemination is also convenient and less invasive. So talk to your doctor and explore your options on what kind of treatment is the best for you.