Sex during fertility treatment:
One of the most common query asked by a couple, undergoing a fertility treatment is – can they have intercourse during the treatment?? Sex or vaginal intercourse is safe, healthy & good for the couple undergoing any kind of fertility treatment. Barring few situations, it is allowed most of the times.
Timed Intercourse / IUI:
Timed intercourse is a fertility treatment where a female is given medicines for follicular growth followed by a trigger injection for oocyte maturation & follicular rupture. After triggering the patient, couple are advised to have intercourse at home for 2 to 3 days daily or on alternate days, which improves their chances of pregnancy. Another treatment is intra-uterine insemination (IUI) where after the follicular rupture, prepared semen sample is inseminated intra-uterine. Both require serial ultrasound monitoring for follicular & endometrial growth. The aim is to achieve 1 -2 dominant follicles which usually take around 9 to 13 days varying from patient to patient.
- Vaginal intercourse is allowed during initial days , later near follicular maturation is avoided due to the fear of follicular rupture due to pressure specially is cases with multi-follicular growth.
- In timed intercourse cycles, patient is asked to have intercourse daily or on alternate days for 2 to 3 days once trigger is given.
- In IUI cycles, intercourse is usually allowed till a few days before trigger is given. It is avoided after trigger so that semen sample given on IUI day has good number of sperms. Rather, if the gap between ejaculation is more, male partner is advised to ejaculate 1 day before or on the day of trigger, to have a good sample on the day of IUI.
- Couple is encouraged to have intercourse on next day of IUI. It’s supposed to improved fertility rates.
- Abstinence is suggested if patient is having painful intercourse probably due to slightly enlarged size of ovary or probably post procedure. Pain can incite uterine constractions, which are not desirable.
- In Time intercourse or IUI cycle, if cycle has been cancelled due to multi-follicular growth, to prevent multiple pregnancy (>3 intrauterine fetus), the couple is advised to abstain from intercourse from 2-3 days before trigger till 3 to 4 days following ovulation.
This is a procedure, where a female is given hormone injections daily for a period of about 10 days. The aim is to achieve 8-15 dominant follicles. Patient is given a trigger for oocyte maturation, after 36 hours of which, oocytes are aspirated through a vaginal needle. The oocytes are fertilised with sperms in lab to form embryos.
1. Vaginal intercourse is safe in initial part of an IVF cycle. Still it is to be done using barrier methods like condoms as sperms can survive for long periods in female genital tract & can pose a risk of multiple pregnancies in an inadvertent situation of follicular rupture before oocyte pick up. In later part, it is avoided to prevent follicular rupture..
2. Post oocyte pick up, intercourse is avoided for a day or 2 to avoid pain & risk of infection in female partner.