More IVF Techniques

Other techniques applied with IVF include:

  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where a single healthy sperm cell is directly injected into a mature egg,
  • Assisted hatching, where the outer covering of the embryo is removed to facilitate embryo implantation into the uterus, and
  • Using donor eggs or sperm. Gestational surrogates may also be considered for women for whom pregnancy poses high health risks, or for those who have a non-functional uterus.

Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a treatment for fertility, performed in couples unable to conceive despite trying for at least a year. IUI involves placing sperm in a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization (fusion of egg and sperm). IUI gives the sperm a head start in entering the womb, but will still have to reach and fertilize the egg on its own.

Who is suitable for IUI?

IUI is a fertility treatment indicated for couples with conditions such as unexplained infertility, abnormal sperm count or mobility, cervical problems and ejaculation dysfunction.

Intra-uterine Insemination Procedure

As the embryo transfer is carried out under the guidance of ultrasound, you will have a full bladder during the procedure.

Dr Alexander injects the sample of semen directly into the uterus through a catheter (long tube). After the procedure, you will be asked to remain lying on your back for a few minutes. This entire procedure may cause minimal discomfort and is completed in a short time.

After the procedure

You will be able to empty the bladder after the procedure.

Transvaginal ultrasounds will be conducted to monitor the development of the eggs and blood tests obtained to check hormone levels.

For the first two days after an embryo transfer you should refrain from lifting heavy objects, physical activity like running or aerobics, swimming, alcohol, smoking and intercourse.

You can do a pregnancy test 10 days after embryo transfer to confirm pregnancy.

Risks and Complications of IUI

IUI is relatively safe and is not associated with serious complications. However, certain risks may occur such as infection and vaginal bleeding due to the placement of the catheter inside the uterus.

IUI by itself may not be associated with a risk of multiple pregnancies. However, when coupled with ovulation-inducing medication, you are at a higher risk of multiple pregnancies. Other possible complications associated with specific steps of an IVF include:

  • Risk of premature and low birth weight

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) (a condition of ovarian enlargement accompanied by fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity)

  • Miscarriage

  • Risks of egg retrieval include bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel, bladder, or blood vessels.

  • Possibility of ectopic or tubal pregnancy

Assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) uses special methods to help infertile couples.

ART involves handling both the woman’s eggs and the man’s sperm.

Success rates vary and depend on many factors. ART can be expensive and time-consuming. But ART has made it possible for many couples to have children that otherwise would not have been conceived.