The advent of fertility drugs and techniques to treat infertility has brought hope and happiness to millions of couples who struggle to conceive. Yet, as with any medication or procedure, infertility treatments are not without risk. If you are considering such treatments, do your research and become well informed about both the potential benefits and risks involved.
Intrauterine Insemination Related Risks
In comparison to other procedures, IUI is a relatively low-risk and simple process. However, there are still some potential hazards one should be aware of:
•1) Infection: Women have a less than one percent chance of contracting an infection as a result of IUI.
•2) Multiple Pregnancies: Fertility drugs are often used in conjunction with IUI to enhance the chances of a woman becoming pregnant. However, the use of fertility drugs also significantly increases the risk for multiple or high-order pregnancies, and multiple pregnancies are long associated with potential hazards for both mother and baby.
Some of these dangers include: early labor, miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, risk to the mother's health, and low birth weight. Babies born prematurely are at greater for having cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, developmental delays, weak lungs, and other health complications.
The most common fertility drugs used alongside IUI are Clomid, as well as a group of hormone-mimicking medications called gonadotropins. It is estimated that women have a 10% chance of becoming pregnant with twins while taking Clomid, and less than a 1% chance of becoming pregnant with triplets or more. In contrast, the risk of multiple pregnancies increases to 30% with the use of gonadotropins, and there is a greater possibility of higher-order pregnancies.
3) Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Fertility drugs also increase the risk of OHSS, a condition in which the ovaries are over-stimulated, and as a result are filled with fluid and become over-expanded. When this fluid is released during ovulation, serious complications can arise. However, OHSS is rarely severe and if detected early it can be dealt with from home.
Reducing IUI Risks
Here are some steps one can take to reduce IUI-related risks:
•- Do your homework and research the pros and cons of each procedure
•- Use lower doses of fertility drugs where possible
•- Be aware of which fertility specialists and clinics take an aggressive vs. a slow approach to infertility treatments---learn how to choose the right doctor
•- Schedule regular doctor checkups and ultrasounds to monitor your hormone levels and the size of your ovaries. Remember, good prenatal care and early detection are key to preventing complications