Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination in which live and motile sperms are placed directly into the womb with a small plastic catheter around the time of ovulation (egg release). IUI is a very simple, painless, cost-effective and non-invasive procedure.
Undergoing an IUI often includes:
• Stimulating the ovaries with medications
• Serial scans to monitor the growth of the follicle and endometrium
• Injection is given to induce ovulation
• IUI is planned 24-36hrs after injection
• On the day of IUI, motile sperms are separated from raw semen in the andrology lab by a specialised washing technique.
• Processed sample is then used for IUI.
Success rates vary between 10-30%, which further depend on
• Menstrual regularity
• Age of the female partner
• Number of eggs released
• Fallopian tube status
• Endometrial thickness
• Treatment protocol
• Sperm count, motility, sperm washing technique and the media used
• Technique of IUI
• Time gap between preparation and insemination of prepared sample.
• Use of self/donor sperms
Here are some measures you can take to improve your success rates with IUI:
1) Adopt a healthy diet:
Your diet influences the success rate of IUI. Include more protein-rich foods and cut down on carbohydrates. Try to consume natural food and avoid processed food. A good diet always makes way for a better pregnancy.
2) Start Exercising:
Moderate exercise after IUI is good. However, rigorous workouts are not recommended. You just need to keep moving yourself and not sit in a stationary position for long.
3) Avoid smoking & alcohol:
Smoking and alcohol are known to reduce the number and quality of the eggs which lowers the chances of conception with infertility treatment including IUI. Smoking in males damages the sperm DNA affecting the results.
4) De-stress and Control Anxiety:
Physical and psychological stress affects the chances of conception. Stress relieving activities like yoga, meditation, acupuncture etc improves the success rates in IUI.
5) Intercourse after IUI:
Studies suggest that having intercourse after an IUI procedure actually helps. This is because during intercourse, the uterus begins to contract, and pushes the sperm towards the fallopian tubes and the egg.
As age is the most important factor for the success, it is advisable that couples initiate evaluation and treatment at the earliest.