Today, with advances in Assisted Reproductive Technology, we are fortunate to have a variety of proven fertility treatments available. One of the most common fertility treatments is IUI. This relatively simple technique has helped millions of couples finally overcome their fertility issues, and at an affordable price. But what is it exactly, how does it work, and who does it help? Today, Superior A.R.T. has all the answers.
What is IUI?
IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a fertility treatment where healthy sperm are placed directly into a woman’s uterus, allowing sperm to more easily reach and fertilize an egg(s), increasing the likelihood of fertilization and conception.
Because IUI is relatively simpler, requiring less advanced technology than other fertility treatments such as IVF or ICSI, it is therefore generally less expensive, less time-consuming, and is often recommended as the first treatment before progressing to other treatments if required.
When is IUI usually used?
IUI is usually used and effective in the following scenarios:
- unexplained infertility
- mild endometriosis
- issues with the cervix or cervical mucus
- mild decreased sperm count
- decreased sperm motility
- issues with ejaculation or erection
The scenarios in which IUI is not commonly effective and used includes:
- women with moderate to severe endometriosis
- women who have had both fallopian tubes removed or have both fallopian tubes blocked
- women with severe fallopian tube disease
- women who have had pelvic infection
- men who have severe decreased sperm count
All things considered, your doctor will help you determine the best option to help you successfully conceive. Depending on each couple’s condition, sometimes beginning with only IUI is enough, but sometimes one may have to explore more advanced treatments such as IVF or ICSI.
How does IUI work?
At the start of an IUI cycle, a doctor will prescribe suitable oral or injectable medications to help stimulate your egg production. While on medications, you will receive regular transvaginal ultrasounds and/or blood tests to monitor your egg growth and endometrial thickness. After an egg grows to 18-20 millimeters or more, it will be generally considered as ready or mature, and you will receive an injectable medication known as a “trigger shot” to begin final stages of egg maturation.
36 – 42 hours after your trigger shot, you and your partner will come back to the clinic. If you aren’t using donated sperm, your male partner will provide a semen sample. The sample will immediately be taken to the laboratory and washed to remove debris, immobile sperm, and substances in the semen that can irritate your uterus or kill the egg. It also makes the good sperm more concentrated. After the sperm are ready, a minor surgical procedure for IUI can then begin. Like a routine pelvic exam, you will lie on an exam table, and the sperm will be injected into your uterus through a thin, long flexible soft tube (catheter). Though it may sound painful, the entire process is relatively painless and takes just around 5-10 minutes to complete. After complete IUI procedure, you will take rest 30 minutes before discharged.
About 14 days after the IUI procedure, you can take a pregnancy test at home or at the clinic. The doctor may ask you to come back to the clinic for a blood test to detect the level of the pregnancy hormones.
What are the risks of IUI?
An IUI patient has a very low risk of rare and minor complications including:
- Infection: The low risk of developing an infection from the IUI procedure is very low since the instruments and the room used are sterilized.
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: The use of fertility medications to stimulate egg growth causes a woman’s ovaries to become hyperstimulated and enlarged. Bloating, tenderness, and nausea may occur, and if excessive may cause more severe side effects requiring hospitalization. Fortunately, good clinics monitor your cycle and OHSS is very rare.
- Multiple pregnancies: Ovarian stimulation medications increase the likelihood that more than one egg will be released, thereby also increasing the likelihood of having a multiple pregnancy.
Carefully selecting an IUI clinic is therefore important. A prospective IUI clinic should be well-equipped with the latest range of medical equipment and technology, have high-quality, well-maintained laboratories, and be supported by as well a team of credentialed experts. It should also have a good track record of IUI success.
How successful is IUI?
The success rate of IUI can be anywhere between 10 – 15% dependent on various factors including age, underlying fertility concerns, and the treatment plan. Success rates for IUI are likely to decrease significantly in women aged over 40 years old. Direct consultation with your IUI doctor will help you predict your likely IUI success rate and consider whether it is a good option for you.
How many times should one try IUI?
The success rate of IUI tends to increase as more cycles are performed, but it will usually stop increasing, and become typically stable, after the 6th cycle. Generally, most doctors will suggest 3 to 6 cycles of IUI, with the maximum number of 6 cycles. However, it is up to the patient if they want to try more cycles.
What to do after IUI?
The IUI procedure requires no recovery period or further steps. You don’t have to lie down and can resume normal activities. Doctor may suggest no bathing or swimming for a few days to minimize any risk of infection. The final step is have a pregnancy test.
How much does IUI cost?
The cost of IUI can vary based on your choice of clinic and specific needs, but generally it ranges from ฿10,000 – ฿40,000. This figure is considered low when compared to other more extensive techniques such as IVF or ICSI.
About Superior A.R.T.
Superior A.R.T offers comprehensive fertility and genetic services in state-of-the art Assisted Reproduction Technology (A.R.T.) Laboratories in Bangkok Thailand. Superior A.R.T. was founded in 2007 by a group of leading Thai Infertility specialists in collaboration with Australian world leading fertility and A.R.T. treatment providers, Superior A.R.T is a renowned fertility clinic offering comprehensive fertility and genetic services by a team of experienced treatment providers and researchers specifically specializing in Assisted Reproduction Technology – A.R.T. Superior A.R.T. is committed to making your dream of having a healthy baby come true.
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