The risks associated with intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures are very rare, and include cramping, spotting, and infection. Spotting and cramping are normal and are usually managed with over-the-counter pain medication and rest. Infection is much less common, and can usually be avoided as long as the procedure is done in a clinic or lab. Despite the fact that the risks are rare, they do exist, so it’s always important to be more educated about the procedure beforehand.
Cramping or spotting
The procedure itself usually doesn’t cause pain, but some women experience discomfort when the catheter is inserted into their uterus. It’s also not uncommon for women to experience mild cramping or spotting after insemination. Because of this, women are usually advised to avoid strenuous exercise the day of their IUI.
Vaginal infections are very rare, but they can happen if bacteria gets in the vagina during the procedure. To avoid infection, IUI should never be done at home; the procedure should always be performed in a sterile laboratory where the tools are clean and sperm has been washed and prepared for the uterus. Women also may be prescribed antibiotics, such as doxycycline, to eliminate any chance of infection.
Women who are taking fertility medication alongside their IUI treatment have a slightly higher risk of a multiple pregnancy. However, it’s important to note that IUI itself doesn’t raise one’s risk of a multiple pregnancy.
IUI comes with very few risks, but knowing the possible complications ahead of time can help you be prepared for anything that comes your way. As with all forms of artificial insemination (besides IVI), do not attempt to perform the procedure at home. If you have any questions about the risks of IUI, ask your provider about the possible effects of the procedure and how they relate to you.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Risks.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Jun 21 2016. Web.
- “IUI Side effects: What you need to know.” AttainFertility. IntegraMed America Inc., 2016. Web.