- The intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure may help one get pregnant and take home a baby, particularly if you are dealing with infertility.How the IUI procedure worksUnder the IUI procedure, the following steps are to be expected:One may begin taking fertility drugs and the ovulation cycle will be monitored.
The partner will provide a sperm sample (or one can obtain donor sperm) that will be specially washed and prepared for the insemination.
The doctor will inject the prepared sperm into your uterus.
Getting ready for the IUI procedure
Before the intrauterine insemination procedure, one should visit a fertility specialist and have a pre-IUI workup. With this workup, the doctor will check the general health and assess the hormone levels to see if they are in the normal range and also check if the uterus can support a pregnancy.
Prior to the IUI procedure, ovulation drugs can be started, while closely monitoring with ultrasound and/or blood testing. This monitoring will confirm the production of healthy eggs and help determine the best timing for the injection of the sperm.
One may also take another test that indicates when ovulation is about to happen. Right before ovulation, there is a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH). Ovulation occurs within 1-2 days after the LH surge. The sperm can be injected into your uterus at the optimal time for conception.
Preparing sperm for IUI
The sperm sample of the partner will be washed and prepared for the IUI procedure. This washing can remove potentially toxic chemicals possibly present in the sperm that the body may negatively react to.
These chemicals can sometimes cause an allergic reaction in women, which could hinder pregnancy. Washing the sperm may also minimize the cramping that sometimes occurs after the IUI procedure.
This washing and preparation process also concentrates the sperm into a high volume. This high concentration helps the healthiest, most mobile sperm to reach the egg and helps increase IUI success rates.
Inserting sperm during IUI
Injecting the prepared sperm into the uterus is quick and virtually painless. This part of the IUI procedure takes 1-2 hours at the most. Here is what to expect:
One will be made to lie down on the exam table as for a pelvic exam.
The doctor will insert a very small, thin and flexible catheter into the cervix.
The washed sperm sample is injected right into the uterus.
Since one has to be lying down for a while after the IUI procedure, it is advisable to have a friend, a partner or a good book to read while waiting in the exam room. Having support may always help.
Some doctors perform two inseminations with the intrauterine insemination procedure. These are done within a day of each other.
Following the IUI procedure
About a week after ovulation, the progesterone levels will be checked. An ultrasound will be conducted to check the uterine lining. The thickness of the uterine lining will indicate whether the IUI procedure has been effective.