Intrauterine insemination is a common procedure assistive reproductive therapy that is used to facilitate conception in couples having difficulty getting pregnant. By far, this is the artificial insemination method used most often, as compared to intracervical insemination, intratubal insemination, and intrafollicular insemination. By passing a catheter through the cervix, sperm are introduced into the uterus. The procedure is both very brief as well as relatively painless. In the Philippines, IUI is quite common.
After the procedure, you may have several questions about what you can and cannot do. Just in case your doctor doesn’t cover everything, here is a brief summary on some do’s and don’ts.
- Do feel free to walk around and keep mobile as you please. The cervix closes spontaneously after the procedure. This helps to ensure that the sperm remains where it has been deposited. Your doctor may encourage you to lie down and rest right after the procedure, which is also beneficial for your comfort.
- You can resume your regular daily activities as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. This includes work, chores, errands, and exercise that you would normally do. If you choose to rest for a few days, that would also be appropriate, as it would not have any adverse effects on the procedure.
- If there was any bleeding during the IUI procedure, you should wait 48 hours before having sex. Otherwise, there is no reason not to.
- Avoid taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen for any pain, cramping or other uncomfortable symptoms. Instead, acetaminophen is a more acceptable pain medication.
- It would be a good idea to wait at least 48 hours before swimming. Although there has been no evidence showing swimming or bathing to interfere with IUI, it would be safer to err on the side of caution.
- If you are currently using any medications administered via the suppository route, you should ask a fertility physician whether swimming would interfere or otherwise prevent these medications from achieving their desired effect.
- Although you may be nervous about the results, do not take a pregnancy test right away. Instead, wait one or two weeks, since implantation may take up to 12 days after ovulation to occur.
- Do manage expectations. A success rate anywhere between 15 and 20% is associated with IUI, and is heavily dependent on sperm count. Sperm samples with a low count are associated with a decreased success rate, whereas a larger count can be associated with a success rate of up to 30%.
Patients for whom IUI has not proven successful may consider in-vitro fertilization as an alternative, or the next step up in treatment. As a more aggressive means of therapy, IVF success does not rely on natural conditions; instead, more variables are controlled to ensure that conception and the development of an embryo occurs.