Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the primary infertility treatment preferred by couples who are unable to conceive over the course of a year. This procedure does not require much technical expertise. It takes a few minutes to complete the process and does not cause much pain and discomfort. IUI can be performed as a simple OPD (Outpatient Department) procedures. Many of the gynaecologists can do it in their clinic. It is preferred as the first-line treatment before IVF as it is believed to be cost-effective and less invasive.
IUI (Intrauterine insemination), also called artificial insemination, is a type of fertility treatment. During the process, a semen sample from a male is washed, processed, and the motile and immotile sperm are separated. Then sperm of higher motility are placed inside a woman’s uterus through a catheter during ovulation to facilitate fertilisation. The motive is to increase the number of sperm reaching the fallopian tube, thereby increasing the chances of fertilisation. It takes a few minutes for the procedure and does not cause much discomfort.
The most common reasons for doing IUI are:
IUI is not recommended in severe male infertility cases and when a woman has a tubal blockage, endometriosis, or a previous history of pelvic infections.
The success rate of IUI is not that great, though success would depend on the cause of infertility, the age of the woman, and the time since the couple is trying to conceive. Studies have shown that pregnancy rate for each natural cycle is about 4-5%, and when the cycle is stimulated with fertility drugs, the pregnancy rate is 7-16%. The possible reasons why IUI fails might depend on person to person, their age, egg quality and a number of other factors
Here are some of the IUI failure reasons or for unsuccessful IUI are:
There are no specific symptoms of IUI failure. An IUI failure will lead to an abortion, or if the treatment hasn’t worked, it will bring in your periods. If the quality of egg and sperm are not good, they may have some chromosomal abnormality, which will result in spontaneous abortion. And in 85% of cases, this is the reason for early pregnancy losses. But one should look out for any unusual vaginal discharge and consult a doctor immediately in any case of severe cramping or discomfort.
If a woman has a history of 3-4 failed IUI cycles, has low ovarian reserve, and is above 35 years of age, then as the very next step after failed IUI, she should consider IVF in that case as a significant treatment. It has been proved through various researches and studies that IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation) and in case of severe male factor infertility, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) can considerably increase the chances of conception and overcome IUI Failure.
It must also be kept in mind that IUI might be less expensive than IVF, but it’s not inexpensive by any means. The cost with the number of tries and medications keeps increasing, along with the impact of IUI failure on infertility. Moreover, pregnancy symptoms after failed IUI also has low success rate as compared to that of other ART procedures. Therefore, it is highly recommended that after 3-4 failed attempts, a couple should not keep continuing on trying for their babies naturally after IUI pregnancy symptoms if nil, rather should consult an IVF Specialist.