What Are The Risks Of IUI?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), often referred to as "artificial insemination", is one of the least invasive Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures and as such poses relatively few risks for patients. If you are considering IUI as a means of getting pregnant, the potential dangers you face are more likely to come from infertility drugs used in combination with IUI rather than the insemination procedure itself. If you are concerned about the risks associated with IUI or the possible side effects of infertility drugs, you should speak to your fertility doctor. All fertility treatment, with drugs or otherwise, should be carefully monitored, which will reduce your chances of suffering side effects. In some situations, it is possible to combine IUI with your normal ovulation cycle, and avoid taking drugs altogether.
Risks Of IUI
During the IUI procedure, a very thin catheter is passed through your cervix and into your uterus, and is then used to transport sperm directly into the uterus cavity. Some women find the procedure mildly painful, but the greatest risk posed by IUI is some discomfort or minor injury to the cervix, which could result in cramping, spotting or bleeding afterwards. This is generally nothing to worry about. Your doctor will probably tell you to lie down and rest for around 30 minutes after the procedure, so if you have any concerns, you can tell him then.
Risks Associated With Sperm Donor
When sperm enters your body via IUI you are exposed to infection by whatever that sperm might be carrying, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This is normally not a problem, as all professional and ethical IUI clinics thoroughly wash sperm before it is used for IUI. If you have any doubts, however, about the health of your sperm donor (if he is known to you) you should make your IUI doctor aware of these. For these reasons, you should never attempt an IUI procedure by yourself at home. Artificial insemination is only safe when carried out under medical supervision.
Risks Of Infertility Drugs
The risks associated with infertility drugs used in combination with IUI will depend on the type of drug used and the dosage that you take. Your doctor will carefully monitor your treatment with any drug. This will reduce your chances of suffering any serious side effects.
One risk associated with ovulation-inducing drugs such as Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) is hyperstimulation of the ovaries. When this happens, 20 or more follicles develop in your ovaries at the same time. This creates very high levels of estrogen in your body, which can lead to enlarged ovaries, abdominal pain and swelling, nausea and vomiting, and even breathing problems. In its most severe form, ovarian hyperstimulation may be life-threatening. The condition is associated with Gonadotropin Therapy (hCG) and more rarely with Clomid. When it does occur in Clomid users, it tends to affect women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Clomid Side Effects
Ovulation-inducing drugs such as Clomid can have additional side effects such as hot flashes, abdominal pain, upset stomach, breast pain, headaches and abnormal menstrual bleeding. Clomid can also affect the quality of your cervical mucus, causing it to become hostile to sperm, to dry up or to thicken and block the entrance to your uterus. Cervical mucus problems can usually be treated with a course of estrogen supplements. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Don't put it off because you really want your treatment to work - if one drug is causing you problems there are others that can be tried, either on their own or in combination with IUI.