Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the more basic, ‘low-tech’ treatments for infertility and the starting point for many individuals and couples who are having difficulty with conception on their own.
How it Works
IUI aims to develop multiple eggs rather than one egg that would naturally develop during a menstrual cycle. Once the eggs have reached the right stage, IUIs are performed using specially treated sperm from the partner or a donor. Unlike IVF, fertilization is taking place within the patient’s body instead of in the laboratory setting.
When to Seek IUI Treatment
An IUI is a very effective way to work around certain conditions that make it difficult to conceive on your own. Patients who have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, mild male factor infertility, a cervical factor, or irregular or absent ovulation are often good candidates for IUI.
Undergoing an intrauterine insemination cycle often includes taking medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs, then through a simple technique, directly injecting processed sperm into the uterus at the time of ovulation.
Stimulate Egg Growth
The woman begins taking oral or injectable medication to stimulate the growth and maturation of her eggs. The injections are just beneath the skin (subcutaneous) and recommended in an area of the body with fat, such your stomach or the top of the thigh. Oral medication is taken for 5 days and injectable medication is usually taken for 8-12 days based on how the ovaries respond.
Ultrasound & Blood Monitoring
Every 1-3, the patient comes in for pelvic ultrasounds and bloodwork to track the cycle’s progress and adjust medication as needed. Once a “ripe” egg is present, a patient receives a “trigger shot” that causes ovulation within about 36 hours.
A sperm sample from the partner or donor is thawed and processed by the laboratory. During preparation, the sperm sample is “washed” to remove debris, immobile sperm and the seminal fluid, then the sperm cells are highly concentrated into a small volume. This ensures that the healthiest sperm and combined with the eggs following the retrieval.
IUI is a simple and fast procedure that doesn’t require any anesthesia or recovery time. Just like a routine pelvic exam, a woman lies on an exam table. The sperm sample is injected into the uterus through a thin, long, flexible catheter. The entire process is virtually painless and takes seconds to complete.
Now the wait begins. About two weeks after embryo transfer, follow up blood testing determines if pregnancy has resulted.