Pregnancy after IntraUterine Insemination

Intrauterine insemination is an assisted reproductive technology that assists couples having problems in conception and pregnancy. Intrauterine insemination is termed as IUI in short and is known by many other names like artificial insemination, artificial insemination by husband (AIH) and human intrauterine insemination. It is a process of placing the sperm of a woman’s partner in her uterus in order to increase the chances of pregnancy. There are many important factors to be taken care of to make IUI result in a successful pregnancy.

Sperm Properties

The amount of motile sperms in the collected specimen is the most important factor in determining the success rate of IUI. If a large number of motile sperms are injected into the uterus, then the success rate of IUI is more. Chances of pregnancy decrease with the number of progressively motile sperms after the sperm wash. If the sperms collected are of abnormal appearance, chances of pregnancy might be lowered. 

Appropriate Timing of IUI

During intercourse, sperm can sustain a longer time as there are glands in the cervical canal that help in secreting mucous to keep the sperm active for several days. But in IUI, sperm are directly released into the uterus of a woman, and hence, they cannot survive for a longer period. So, an appropriate timing for the release of sperm is essential to make IUI successful. Generally, the time before ovulation is found to be more appropriate.

Just an hour before the schedule of IUI, sperm specimen is collected from the male partner. This specimen is washed to separate sperms from the seminal fluid and treated with a sperm wash media. This washed and treated sperm is injected into the uterus using a catheter. Fertilization and implantation of the embryo can occur anywhere between 6 and 12 days. Hence, a pregnancy test is done after 15 days of the IUI procedure.

Medical Conditions

IUI can be done to aid in pregnancy even in women who are above the age of 41 years, but it might not result in pregnancy for all women. IUI will not be effective for couples with issues like advanced stages of endometriosis, severe male factor infertility, tubal blockage or damage and ovarian failure. IUI can not be done in women with fallopian tube blockage.

Other Factors

Female age is another factor that affects the success of IUI. Women above 40 years are in the risk category where the success rate is too low. It may fail even in younger women if they have high elevation of day 3 Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) or reduction in ovarian reserves. The number of follicles also determines the success of IUI. Ideally, 3 to 4 follicles give better chances of pregnancy, while follicles more than this can result in multiples.

Word of Caution

Pregnancy after intrauterine insemination depends on various factors. It also depends on the history and complications in the previous pregnancy of the woman. But in general, the success rate is found to be higher in women taking fertility drugs, but they have chances of giving birth to multiples, as these drugs stimulate super-ovulation (formation of more than one egg).

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