IUI fertility treatment is the most common infertility procedure suggested by the gynaecologists for low sperm count. When a couple has not been able to conceive naturally after trying for a long duration of time, they typically visit a fertility doctor who suggests IUI treatment at a fertility clinic.
Low sperm count is a common problem amongst males. Many men wake up to the reality that they cannot impregnate their partners because of a problem with their fertility. Help for fertility problems are easily available today and no longer considered shameful. Society has come to accept infertility as another medical condition that needs to be treated. To diagnose the exact cause of infertility, both partners have to undergo certain tests.
A man’s body produces sperm regularly, which takes approximately 90 days to mature. Generally, a healthy male will produce approximately 300 million sperm per ml of semen a day. A sperm count of up to 40 million per ml of semen is a healthy sperm count for natural pregnancy. A sperm count of 20 million per millilitre of semen and below is considered a low sperm count.
Even though it takes only one sperm to fertilise the egg, many sperms die in the acidic environment of the female cervix, and many are too weak and not able to make the perilous journey to the fallopian tubes. Among the few sperms that do make it to the correct fallopian tube, only the healthiest sperm is able to penetrate the egg.
The IUI treatment is a procedure whereby the sperm is injected directly into the female uterus during ovulation. The male partner gives a sperm sample which is washed to remove the excess seminal fluid. The healthy sperm is selected and artificially inseminated into the female uterus.
Intra-Uterine Insemination is usually recommended only in cases of low sperm count. Men with other infertility problems such as poor sperm motility or poor sperm morphology are not usually recommended IUI treatment as the sperm are not of the required quality to fertilise the egg naturally.
Even though the IUI procedure appears to be simple and without flaws, the success rate of this procedure is between 10% to 15%. Even with its low success rate, the IUI treatment is quite popular. The reason many couples opt for IUI is due to the fact that it is much cheaper than IVF or any other fertility treatment option. With the right timing and a fertile female partner, it increases the chances of success with the IUI treatment and couple stand a good chance of conceiving.
The quality of the sperm is the main reason behind couples not being able to conceive even with the IUI treatment. Even though the sperm is washed and the healthy sperm are segregated.
Those who are not able to get pregnant with IUI are recommended In Vitro Fertilisation. It is a procedure where the female egg and the male sperm are fertilised in the lab and then placed in the female uterus.
Undergoing IUI treatment is quite painless, and most women report that they hardly felt anything. Usually, IUI has no side effects; however, on rare occasions, the female partner could end up with a severe infection post-treatment.
Other side effects that one should look out for are those associated with the fertility drugs given to stimulate the ovaries to increase the possibility of IUI success. In most cases, the side effects of these hormone injections should subside within a week.
There are some risks that one needs to be prepared for with the IUI treatment. The most dangerous risk is of multiple pregnancies, which is detrimental for the health of the mother as well as the babies. The babies could suffer from issues like low birth weight, developmental problems, premature delivery, birth complications and preeclampsia. Usually, towards the last few months of the pregnancy, the mother is recommended total bed rest. Surprisingly despite the risks, most couples are excited at the prospect of twins or triplets.
Given the right conditions and a healthy female partner, the success rate of IUI treatment is greatly increased.