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IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination. This is also known as “Artificial Insemination”.
What is IUI Insemination? Will it Work for You? IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination. This is also known as “Artificial Insemination”. This is a treatment used for oligospermia (low sperm concentration), as well as sperm abnormalities in terms of volume and viscosity. The pregnancy rate of IUI is 25% to 35% in different series. The pregnancy success rate is significantly higher in Intrauterine Insemination for infertile couples whose male partners had oligoasthenospermia (decreased sperm motility or ability to move continuously). How does Intrauterine Insemination work? In Intrauterine Insemination, first there must a sperm specimen subject for analysis. This can be from the male partner or from an anonymous sperm donor. The sperm will be analyzed to check for its volume, viscosity, movement and any structural defects. Prior to collection, there must be about a 3-day abstinence from masturbation and sexual intercourse. After abstinence, the sperm will be collected. The sperm will undergo a centrifugation process in order to separate the semen. This is used to treat mild to moderate abnormalities in the semen analysis and unexplained infertility. What is iui ideally done 1 – 2 days before ovulation. To determine ovulation, urine analysis will be performed to the woman. This is to determine the levels of LH (luteinizing hormone). LH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, wherein a rise in the levels of this results to development of corpus luteum that is responsible to maintain pregnancy. Determination of LH levels provides the precise result on when the insemination must be done. The LH in the urine will be at its peak the day before ovulation. The sperm must undergo a washing procedure. It is called washed intrauterine Insemination. This procedure allows insemination of only the sperm into the uterus. This is a method done by separating sperm using an electrolyte solution, then placing the sperm directly in the uterine cavity. This washing technique of seminal fluid will result to severe cramping of the uterus, and will be uncomfortable for the woman. The cramping is due to the release of prostaglandin (a hormone that is responsible for the muscle relaxation and contraction). To separate the sperm from the semen, the semen specimens are placed in a tube wherein the volume is tripled due to the added electrolyte and amino acid solution (called the Ham’s F-10 solution). This is the standard method of sperm preparation. The tube with semen will undergo centrifugation (mixing process) for two times. The solution will be discarded each time, and continuous addition of the solution will be done. After the last centrifuge, the sperm is noted to be settling at the bottom. These semen pellets will be placed in a 0.3 -0.5 ml solution, then this will be withdrawn using a small sterile catheter. This will be directly placed in the uterus (high endometrium part). In Intrauterine Insemination, only the high quality sperm are used. This is done by layering a solution (Ham’s F-10 solution) over the sperm pellets. This is incubated for 30 – 120 minutes. After the sperm washing method, a speculum (instrument that aids in opening the vagina to view the cervix) is inserted in the vagina to retract it. This is for the introduction of a cleaning agent to disinfect the vagina and cervical area. After cleaning, a small sterile catheter is inserted in the vagina all the way up into the cervix in order to inject the washed sperm in the higher part of uterus. The average time for the whole procedure is 20 to 30 minutes, including the preparation of materials. The number ofIUI treatments varies from one person to another. What is IUI and how much does it cost? IUI is the modern medical method of conception, especially to those couples with reproductive problems. These issues are unexplained infertility, sperm abnormalities, hormonal defects, and myoma or any growths in the reproductive organs. In addition, an adhesion of the uterus is another common problem. Adhesion is the characteristic of the tissues or muscles sticking or adhering to one another. Adhesions happen due to a curettage procedure in the past. Prior to IUI, there will be an initial consultation with your physician in order to assess your overall condition. You and your doctor will be discussing your individual needs, especially the desire in conceiving a baby. However, before beginning the IUI treatment, there will be a series of tests you have to go through in what is iui. The usual tests are: Blood tests – complete blood count will be ordered by the doctor to check the levels of your red blood cells (to check for anemia), and to determine any signs of inflammation (such as a rise in the white blood cells that indicates infection). Ultrasound and Hysterosalphingogram – imaging tests that provide the structures of the reproductive organs. These tests detect any growths (like myoma), or any blockages (especially in the fallopian tubes that can be a hindrance to a successful pregnancy). Intrauterine Insemination fee varies per country. Due to this, medical tourism increase yearly, depending on the different rates and availability: USA – $200 – $400 per cycle (one course of IUI treatment) Singapore and other Asian countries – $200 – $350 per cycle Canada – $200 – $350 per cycle UK – £500 to £1,000 per cycle The number of IUI treatment varies. Some women get pregnant on their first IUI while others get pregnant after the 3rd or 4th IUI treatment. Apart from the above rates, there will also be medications before the start of IUI and these are usually much more costly than the IUI itself. The medications vary from one person to another. Injectable medicines are more expensive than those in tablet form. These medications are usually for the purpose of ovulation. The sperm washing costs around $200 – $400. Professional fee and consultation fee of the doctor is also at a separate fee. Who can get benefits from IUI? There are many benefits of IUI. The first is being able to conceive a baby (or babies) despite of an underlying medical condition (such as unexplained infertility). In addition, IUI is beneficial to women with cervical stenosis (spinal condition where the nerves are in constant pressure due to the small size of the spine. Because of this, the nerves are unable to function normally). Intrauterine Insemination is beneficial for women with no male partners, since IUI can be from an anonymous donor sperm. The sperm is screened and tested before being eligible for donation. Because of this technology, some couples, especially those whose male partners haveazoospermia (low sperm count) may also choose to utilize donor sperm insemination. People with disability such as those who cannot have sexual intercourse due to an accident may benefit from IUI. Men with sperm problems and premature ejaculation are also on the list of those who can benefit from Intrauterine Insemination. For families who wish to have balance in terms of the number of children and their gender, IUI can provide the method of gender selection. In addition, multiple pregnancies such as twins, triplets or more can be performed. What are the risks of IUI? IUI is an assisted method of reproduction done by injected a processed sperm directly in the uterus. This can be a long term process andcostly, as this kind of procedure is usually not covered by most insurance companies. This procedure can cause infection if the instruments used are not sterile. IUI is for couples or mothers with reproductive conditions, and there is no guarantee that pregnancy will be successful. Intrauterine Insemination can be from a sperm donor. Couples wishing to do this may face emotional challenges and therefore, they need counseling. The body needs to be prepared for pregnancy, and pregnancy itself can be physically challenging. In IUI, there is also a chance for the pregnancy to become ectopic. Ectopic pregnancy is the implantation in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. The fallopian tubes are not the location for pregnancy, but the uterus. Therefore, ectopic pregnancy must be terminated right away to avoid complications to the mother. With IUI treatment, there can be a little discomfort or minor cramping in the uterus upon injection of sperm. There will be no pain in the cervix if this is slightly dilated (due to ovulation). In the insertion of the catheter to the uterus, little pain will be felt in the cervix if the cervix is still closed. Vaginal spotting is another risk of IUI. This is the presence of blood coming from the vagina, and is at a very minimal level. Vaginal spotting can be due to the use of other instruments apart from the catheter like a tenaculum (used for grasping to maintain steadiness of the area such as the cervix). In Intrauterine Insemination, there is a chance of having multiple pregnancies. This of course can lead to low birth weight and premature delivery. It is also observed by women that after IUI, there have more vaginal discharge. There is nothing to worry about this, as this is not the sperm falling out. Once the sperm is inside the uterus, it will not fall out. The increase production of vaginal discharge is due to the loosening of cervical mucus, and this is normal after IUI. Why do many people choose IUI over IVF? IUI insemination is associated with higher pregnancy rates if it is combined with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation than when used in natural ovulation cycles. More people also choose IUI over IVF because is it less invasive. There will be no eggs collected, unlike IVF. Both IUI and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) are capable of gender selection and multiple pregnancies, however, as you’ve seen in what is iui, IUI takes a shorter time to complete, and the cost is significantly more affordable than IVF.
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