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Infertility does affect a large number of people all across the world. Male infertility is a major reason for this no doubt. Of course, having access to Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs) in most parts of the world, it has been possible to overcome the hurdle. The most common type of ART recommended often by doctors is intrauterine insemination (IUI).
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What is IUI?
IUI is a form of treatment for unexplained infertility, mild endometriosis, or even mild male factor infertility. An IUI happens to be a sort of artificial insemination whereby the sperm is injected directly into the uterine cavity near the time of ovulation. IUI no doubt is a relatively simple fertility process. Yet most people are not indeed willing to go for it due to a lack of adequate knowledge about the techniques that are involved in the procedure.
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How is an IUI performed?
Ovulation does occur usually once in every menstrual cycle when hormone changes do trigger an ovary to release an egg. During the procedure, the male partner will rather be asked to provide a semen sample about an hour or two before being scheduled for insemination. This is done by masturbating into the sterile container. The semen is then “washed” to separate the sperm from the seminal fluid. This needs to be done before the sperm can be injected into one’s uterus as the seminal fluid does contain substances that can irritate one’s uterus. Sperm “washing” may indeed also improve the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg. The IUI procedure does place the sperm cells directly into the woman’s uterus so that the sperm starts its move closer to the egg. The idea is to reach the egg and fertilize it, cutting down on the time and distance of travel does help improve the sperm’s odds of success, as I am more likely to reach the egg.
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It is better to wait for at least two weeks before taking a home pregnancy test as an early test might produce a false outcome. After two weeks, the doctor might then ask the patient to return with the home pregnancy results. A blood test might be suggested for detecting pregnancy hormones after fertilization. In case of pregnancy does not occur in the first attempt, the same procedure can then be repeated after a recommended period of three to six months.
IUI is recommended for:
- Women who may not be able to ovulate, such as those suffering from PCOS, or hypothalamic patients
- Women having unexplained infertility
- Male partners suffering from minor semen abnormalities or ejaculatory dysfunction
- Male partners who get frozen sperm obtained before surgery, travel, or treatment for diseases
- Anyone who does need donor sperm, such as LGBT couples, heterosexual couples who happen to be struggling with a malefactor, or single women who are keen to conceive
IUI is not recommended for:
- Women who are having severe disease of the fallopian tubes
- Women who have a history of pelvic infections
- Women with moderate to severe endometriosis
IUI Side Effects
Patients will indeed experience some side-effects from the intrauterine insemination (IUI) Treatment, mainly on account of the fertility drugs. Some of these side-effects are:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Nausea, headaches, or visual disturbances
- Swollen and painful ovaries, signaling ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
- Pelvic discomfort, breast tenderness, or bloating
- Ovarian cysts
- Swelling or a rash around the injection site
Couples do have several options of conceiving if suffering from infertility problems and IUI is one of them.