IUI Treatment – Side Effects and Risks
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Most couples who are unable to conceive naturally may opt for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) to get pregnant. If you have been trying to get pregnant for a while now and not getting the ‘good news’, you may be willing to try out this method too. To help you decide if this is the right method for you, understand the side effects and risks involved in the treatment.
Intrauterine insemination does not require any surgery. The process of intrauterine insemination involves encouraging ovulation with fertility drugs. Then the doctor may place specially prepared sperm straight into your uterus through the cervix close to your usual ovulation time. This direct insertion may help the sperm to travel easily to the egg cell. The sperm sample can belong to your male partner or even to a third-party donor.
Most women who have opted for intrauterine insemination have experienced minimal side effects of the procedure and found the treatment to be fairly painless. In case you may still have some concerns regarding the procedure it is always better to discuss your doubts in detail with your doctor for proper guidance and advise.
Side Effects of Intrauterine Insemination
All medical procedures usually have some side effects or the other. Intrauterine insemination can also have certain side effects though most of the side effects are known to be minor.
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe fertility drugs to enhance the rate of success of the procedure. The fertility drugs tend to stimulate hyper ovulation wherein the ovaries release multiple eggs. Many of the side effects of IUI treatment may arise due to these fertility drugs rather than from the procedure itself.
However, the side effects triggered by taking the fertility drugs are generally mild and vanish after the discontinuation of the medication. Some of the IUI fertility treatment side effects can be:
- Slight abdominal pain or mild cramping
- Light spotting for a couple of days
- Hot flashes
- Depression or mood swings
- Visual disturbances
- Painful and swollen ovaries
- Tender breasts
- Some pelvic discomfort
- Ovarian cysts
- A rash or slight swelling about the injection spot
- Likely IUI side effects on baby can include multiple births
In some rare cases, the side effects of IUI treatment can manifest in a severe form like difficulty in breathing, darkened urine, severe cramps, a sudden increase in weight. In such a scenario inform your doctor immediately.
What Risks Can Occur After IUI and Fertility Treatments?
Some possible complications that may arise after undergoing IUI treatment or other fertility treatments are given below.
1. Risk of Multiples
The risk of conceiving twins or more children after IUI treatment is quite small, but it may happen. Becoming pregnant with multiples is a side effect of fertility drugs taken during the IUI treatment. Multiple pregnancies can cause increased risk such as a miscarriage, premature delivery, gestational diabetes, low birth weight, preeclampsia (high blood pressure), complications at birth, etc.
2. Risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
The fertility drugs used for the IUI treatment may result in Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Common fertility drugs like Clomid and Letrozole are administered before the IUI cycle to enhance ovulation which causes ovaries to produce over twenty follicles in one go. The hyper ovulation may pump up the body’s oestrogen levels resulting in inflammation of the ovaries. Enlarged ovaries can lead to bloating, severe abdominal pain, vomiting or nausea, and breathing issues.
3. Risk of Infection
There may be a slight risk of infection during the IUI procedure as it involves inserting a thin tube through the cervix to place the sperm in the uterine cavity. Some women may experience some pain or cramping during the insertion. But the higher risk during insertion can be likely injury to the cervix causing acute pain, spotting or bleeding after the procedure. Therefore, doctors mostly advise resting for a while after the culmination of the procedure to lessen the chances of any possible distress.
Intrauterine insemination is a simple process and is considered to be among the least invasive methods. The side effects associated with the process are also very minimal. Most of the side effects of IUI treatment usually subside with time or get eliminated after the stoppage of fertility medications.
Also Read: Pregnancy Symptoms After a Successful IUI