Often referred to as artificial insemination, intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is among the least invasive of fertility treatments. The technology used in IUI is referred to as Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART. People considering IUI should be aware about the possible risks of this treatment.
Risk of Infection
This problem has surfaced due to intrauterine insemination being offered in many healthcare centers that don’t have the required credentials/infrastructure that is found in professional healthcare facilities like hospitals. Further, many times the procedure is conducted by gynecologists who lack the expertise for providing IUI treatment. The probability of infection also rises when the IUI is done repeatedly. IntraUterine Insemination requires the attending specialist to ensure whether the fertilization has been established in the required manner. This might take more than one session. Thus, repeated procedures are often conducted that can initiate an infection—this is more likely to happen when the procedure is conducted by untrained personnel.
Risk of Multiple Pregnancies
Multiple pregnancies create health hazards by making childbirth more complicated. Multiple pregnancies emanating from artificial insemination can make labor very painful and impair the development of the fetus. Multiple pregnancies have a higher likelihood in artificial insemination than natural births since a greater number of eggs are fertilized in IUI. As a result, multiple pregnancies through IUI are likely to yield quadruplets or triplets rather than twins. Further, there is very little that can be done to prevent this condition.
Risk of Using Infected Sperm
This is more likely to happen when the procedure is conducted without a proper screening process. The sperm is critical for fertilization but it also creates the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) being passed-on to the woman. This is particularly applicable for STDs induced due to Chlamydia infections that are often undetected in preliminary screening tests. Similarly, bacterial infections of the cervix often occur due to an infected sperm being used. This is largely an issue of neglectful handling by the attending specialist or the clinical facility since the sperm can be cured of such infections with conventional medications.
Risks due to Using Fertility Drugs
Sometimes, women with impaired ovulation are administered fertility drugs prior to IUI. However, some of these medications are known to have side-effects. Women on ovulation medications can suffer from a disturbed menstrual cycle and PMS apart from bloating, headaches and nausea. However, the most serious risk of using fertility drugs is OHSS or Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Please note that the incidence of this condition is very rare. However, OHSS can prove to be a fatal condition. It causes excessive accumulation of fluid in the chest and stomach, interrupting the respiratory process. Multiple pregnancies too are more likely to happen when IUI is performed along with administering ovulation-inducing drugs.
Risks due to Unwarranted Artificial Insemination
This problem surfaces when the attending specialist is unable to decode the exact reason for repeated failures of the IUI treatment. It should be noted that if the failures are induced due to low sperm count or oligospermia, the artificial insemination should be temporarily halted. Failure to do so creates the risk of multiple IUIs being performed on the patient that can prove damaging to her overall health, besides putting forth unwarranted expenses.