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Frequently Asked Questions about Intrauterine Insemination

Q. What is Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) ?

A) It is the process of transferring, washed motile sperms into the uterine cavity by using a fire plastic catheter , through the cervix. This is generally the first step, (cost-effective too) for enhancing the fertility in a woman.

Q. How long do fertilization and implantation take ?

A) Fertilization takes 24 hrs after ovulation and implantation takes around 5-10 days after ovulation.

Q. What is the IUI procedure ?

A) Medicinal protocol in brief is :

  • Clomiphene Citrate is consumed from period days 3- 7.
  • Injections are given (if required)
  • Follicular growth is monitored (from day 11 of cycle )
  • LH surge and estrogen level during the cycle are monitored
  • Once a follicle reaches 19-20 mm size, a slot of hCG
  • IUI is performed after 36-40 hours of hCG
  • Adjustments in the ovulation induction protocol are made (as per individual need)

Q. What are the necessary precautions for a lady during an IUI cycle ?

A) A lady should avoid heavy exercise, jogging or high impact aerobics, before the IUI cycle. After the process, little rest is advisable. A pain killer might also be prescribed.

Q. How are super ovulation timing of coitus (SO-TOC), IUI & IVF different ?

A) SO-TOC is also one of first infertility treatments of infertility. While the aim of SO-TOC is to ovulate 3-4 eggs, the aim of IVF aim is to ovulate more than 10 eggs. The monitoring of cycle is same for both.

Q: What are important pre- IUI treatment steps ?

A) Before the treatment, a woman must have atleast one open fallopian tube (either according to hysterosalpingogram or tubal dye study). Blood tests for hormone FSH is also done on cycle day 3. Semen analysis of the male partner is also done. Generally both the partners go through blood grouping, blood test for sexually transmitted diseases, for HBsAg, antisperm antibody test and post coital test.

Q. What is meant by "washed" sperm ?

A) Naturally, during intercourse, sperms deposit in the vagina and then travel through the cervical mucus. But in IUI process, since the cervix is by- passed, numerous sperms are available. As sperms will be placed in the uterine cavity, they are first washed (through various methods) for getting rid of any dead cells, bacteria or seminal fluid. This may take around an hour.

Q. What is sperm freezing ?

A) it is possible to freeze sperm sample before an IUI if the partner is not available during the process. But before the freezing, a complete blood work is done. Then the sample (through masturbation is collected in a sterile container. Lab then does a complete semen analysis after which the sample is frozen.

Q. How long can the frozen sperms be stored ?

A) The general time span is around 20 years but every individual's sperm react differently to the freezing process. The post thaw analysis can tell the right span.

Q. What is donor IUI ?

A) Single women or a couple where the male partner has sperm related problems (or in case of men with genetic problems too) who cannot afford expensive treatment can opt for donor IUI.

Q. Does IUI increase the chance of pregnancy ?

A) In IUI procedure, the healthiest sperms are washed sperm and injected into the uterus adjacent to the fallopian tube. This avoids any cervical factor problems and also removes the low quality sperms.

Q. When is IUI used ?

A) IUI is generally selected by a couple, which have atleast one patent fallopian tube and those who have been trying to conceive for atleast one year of unprotected intercourse. It is also selected by patients with the following issues:

  • Low sperm count
  • A hostile cervical condition [too thick cervical mucus]
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Decreased sperm motility

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