Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) is a treatment option for infertility that is highly popular, straightforward, and affordable. IUI involves injecting sperm into the uterus to increase the chances of conception in couples who aren’t too advanced in age and most closely resembles natural conception.
What is IUI?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves injecting carefully selected sperm into the uterus directly. A small plastic tube is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus so the sperm can be placed in the uterus when you are ovulating or close to ovulating. The sperm should then swim up to fertilize the egg in the fallopian tube.
For IUI, sperm must be healthy and there must be at least one million sperm remaining after screening. If there are fewer sperm than that, the chances of success decrease dramatically.
How does IUI work?
Before having the insemination procedure, you may take fertility medicines that stimulate ovulation. Semen is collected from your partner or a donor. It goes through a process called “sperm washing” that collects a concentrated amount of healthy sperm from the semen.
Then your doctor puts the sperm right into your uterus. Pregnancy happens if sperm fertilizes your egg, and the fertilized egg implants in the lining of your uterus.
IUI is a simple and low-tech procedure, and it can be less expensive than other types of fertility treatments. It increases your chances of pregnancy, but everyone’s body is different, so there’s no guarantee that IUI will work.
What is the difference between IUI and IVF?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a speculum.
In-vitro fertilization, known as IVF, eggs are surgically removed using a needle that goes through the back of the vagina, and those eggs are fertilized outside of the body.
Who should consider IUI?
IUI should be considered if:
- You have just begun looking into options to treat infertility
- The female partner is younger than 35
- The fallopian tubes are not narrowed or blocked
- The male partner has sperm that meets the criteria for successful IUI
IUI is not a good option if:
- The female partner is over 35 (egg quality declines with age and IUI is unlikely to be successful)
- The female partner has any problems with the fallopian tubes or pelvis
- The female partner has endometriosis
- The male partner has low quality sperm or is unable to ejaculate
How to prepare before IUI treatment?
Preparation for women
- Take all medication (oral and injectable) prescribed by the doctor
- Avoid sexual intercourse
- Manage stress and anxiety
Preparation for men
- Avoid ejaculating for five to seven days as recommended by the doctor
- Avoid sexual intercourse
- Manage stress and anxiety
- Avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol
The IUI Procedures (Step by Step)
Step one: Doctor consultation
The doctor will explain the procedure and preparation and set up the treatment plan. (Please see the doctor before your period.
Step two: Ovarian stimulation
You will take medication to stimulate your ovaries on the second or third day of your period.
Step three: Ultrasound
The doctor will perform an ultrasound to check on the number and size of eggs, and once the eggs are the desired size, a trigger shot will be administered to cause ovulation. Intrauterine insemination will be performed 24-40 hours after that, when ovulation occurs.
Step four: Preparing sperm
When the eggs are ready, the doctor will schedule the male partner for sperm collection and preparation for IUI. Sperm is treated in the laboratory and only the healthiest sperm are chosen for preparation.
Step five: Insemination
On the same day, when the sperm is collected and prepared, the doctor will inject the sperm into the uterus and will wait for a pregnancy test in a couple of weeks.
Step six: Pregnancy test
About two to three weeks after IUI, a pregnancy test can be carried out.
Care after the IUI procedure
- Please rest at the clinic for at least 30 minutes after the procedure.
- You can resume normal activities and go about your daily life.
- Avoid strenuous exercise.
- You can resume normal sexual intercourse.
During IUI, ovarian stimulation causes the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual and this can lead to swelling of the ovaries, which can cause abdominal discomfort. If you experience severe bloating with IUI, it is recommended that you eat up to eight egg whites a day to reduce this symptom.
Pros and Cons of IUI treatment
Is IUI right for us?
Advantages of IUI
- It is more affordable than other treatment options for infertility.
- It is a simple procedure.
- It doesn’t require a lot of time.
- It is similar to natural conception.
Disadvantages of IUI
- It is less successful than IVF/ICSI.
- Embryos cannot be genetically tested.
The success rates of IUI treatment
The success of IUI depends on several factors, including: the age of the female partner, the number of healthy eggs available for fertilization, the concentration of the sperm injected into the uterus, and the thickness of the endometrium (uterine lining) on the day of the insemination.
Your doctor will manage these factors to ensure the highest chance of success. IUI is widely used to achieve pregnancy and has a good chance of success. It is safe and affordable.
The risk of IUI treatment
There are minimal risks associated with IUI and they are usually mild. Risks of IUI include:
- Infection that can occur during the IUI procedure, but it is unlikely.
- Irritation can occur in the vagina and cervix during IUI when the sperm is injected into the uterus. Some discomfort and bleeding can occur, but this does not impact pregnancy.
- Twin pregnancy can occur with IUI because ovarian stimulation can lead to more than one egg being fertilized. Twin pregnancy is considered high risk and twins are usually born earlier than term and weigh less than singleton babies.
How much does IUI cost?
IUI is considered an affordable option and at Beyond IVF, one round of intrauterine insemination is 30,000 baht. This includes:
- Medication to stimulate the ovaries, as prescribed by the doctor
- Trigger shot to cause ovulation
- Two ultrasounds to monitor egg development
- Sperm collection and preparation as well as the insemination process
- All doctor fees during the process
- All medical and laboratory fees
- All equipment fees
Bangkok IUI Clinic
These days technologies to treat infertility have progressed to where there are many options to help families conceive. When choosing a place to undergo intrauterine insemination it is important that the clinic or hospital is clean and safe, with doctors who are experts in the field.
Beyond IVF meets all these requirements. Our doctor is a fertility expert and an obstetrician and gynecologist with credentials from Ramathibodi Hospital that guarantee his knowledge and experience.
Furthermore, our clinic maintains the highest standards of cleanliness and safety, with a high-quality team always available to answer your questions and world-class technology identical to many big hospitals. We offer several treatment options for infertility, whether it be egg freezing or IVF/ICSI.
FAQs about IUI treatment
Is IUI treatment painful?
IUI involves inserted a very thin sterile tube through the cervix into the uterus to inject sperm. The process lasts only a few minutes and is not painful. You can resume normal activities immediately and no hospital stay is required.
Can IUI cause twins?
IUI can lead to a twin pregnancy if more than one egg is fertilized, though this is uncommon because doctors prefer to limit the number of eggs produced. Pregnancy with multiple fetuses is considered high-risk and can lead to threatened abortion and premature birth.
What causes IUI to fail?
Some reasons why IUI may fail include:
- Abnormal sperm (low numbers, low motility, or low quality)
- Problems with the fallopian tube, for example, having just one working fallopian tube, as an egg may not always travel through that tube each month
- Advanced age of the female partner (over 40)
- Problems with the cervix, such as narrowed cervix or previous surgery to the cervix, as this can make it difficult to inject sperm into the uterus
- Problems with the uterus that can prevent insemination or fertilization, such as large fibroids or severe endometriosis
- Problems with the uterine lining, preventing attachment of the embryo
How many times can IUI be done?
It is only recommended to try IUI three times. If the three cycles fail, the doctor will recommend additional testing to discover the cause of infertility and may suggest IVF or ICSI as these are more successful in some cases.
To learn more about IUI treatment
IUI is a popular procedure for the treatment of infertility and the first step on the road of assisted reproductive technologies. It has few complications, good success in the right candidates, and is affordable in comparison with IVF and ICSI. However, there are many factors that attribute to the success of IUI, be it the age of both partners, the health of the egg and sperm, as well as the uterine lining on the day of the insemination.
Thus, it is important to undergo treatment with a doctor who is an expert in the field and a facility with the right tools and equipment to support your journey. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us on Line at @beyondivf.