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Sunday, 6 April 2014

IUI: What is it?

In the simplest terms, Intrauterine insemination (IUI) consists of inserting sperms into the uterus at or around the time of ovulation. IUI is often offered to infertile couples as a first option as it is less expensive and less stressful.

Why IUI?
The logic of IUI is to ensure that the sperms are present in the reproductive tract during the first 24 hours after ovulation. This is because the egg stays alive and can fertilise only during this 24 hour time period. In order to make the process more efficient fertility specialists often advise ovarian stimulation in conjunction with IUI. If ovarian stimulation is done with daily injections of FSH or hMG, it is recommended that the lady takes progesterone in the form of pessaries for at least 14 days for hormonal support of the impending pregnancy.

What happens naturally?
Sperms make up less than 5% of the volume of the semen that is produced. These sperms are a mix of motile and immotile (but live) as well as dead sperms. These sperms are suspended in a fluid along with substances that are nutritive and protective. The function of the fluid is to transport the sperms to the vagina. From there only the sperms can swim up, these are filtered by the cervix (the neck of the womb) while the rest of the fluid comes out. 

What happens in IUI?
Processing of the semen is done to isolate motile sperms, these moving sperms are then suspended in fresh medium and released into the uterus. The procedure is NOT painful but the insertion of fluid into the uterus may cause muscles of the uterus to contract. This will cause cramping pain similar to that experienced during periods.

How many times?
IUI can be done once or on two consecutive days by different fertility specialists. This is usually decided by the specialist and so far studies have not been able to show which is better.

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