What Is IUI?
IUI is a procedure to assist in reproduction. It involves washing the sperm and separating out the fast-moving sperm, concentrating it, and placing it directly into the uterus. It is a low-tech approach that is often the first procedure for patients who are unable to conceive on their own.
Who Might Want IUI?
- When you are trying to conceive and you or a male partner has male factor infertility (subfertility). IUI can overcome a low sperm count or poor sperm motility. Motility is important because the sperm must be able to reach the egg in addition to being able to fertilize the egg.
- Women with unexplained infertility
- When there is cervical scarring or abnormalities that can interfere with the ability of the sperm to travel to the egg – IUI bypasses the cervix.
- When a woman has infertility related to endometriosis
- When intercourse is painful
- When erectile dysfunction or ejaculation is a problem
- When the patient is allergic to the partner’s semen. Semen allergy is rare. But it can occur. During preparation for IUI, the sperm is washed and the allergens are removed.
- When frozen sperm is available
- When using donor sperm
The IUI Process
The semen sample is generated by the male partner or provided by a donor. In a test tube, the sperm is washed and spun to remove the semen, which eliminates any risk of allergic reaction. Then the most viable, healthy sperm are concentrated.
The swim test. When the semen has been separated out, and the sperm are what’s left, the specialist will add fluid above the sperm. The most active sperm will swim up to the fluid. Those sperm are concentrated in a small volume to be used for the IUI Procedure.
Using a small sample of healthy, highly concentrated, active sperm increases the chance of pregnancy.
Clomid is sometimes used in conjunction with IUI to trigger the release of the eggs at the time (ovulation) of insemination. This is called ovulation induction. The goal of ovulation induction is to trigger the ovaries to ovulate one or more eggs at the same time. Blood tests and ultrasound help assess when the egg is mature, and whether and how far along the uterus is adapting to accommodate the egg.
Monitoring for signs of ovulation is crucial because the IUI procedure is timed to ovulation. Various methods include:
- Over-the-counter urine ovulation prediction kits which detect a release of the hormone LH (Luteinizing Hormone) which is released around the time of ovulation.
- Transvaginal ultrasound is used to image the ovaries and growth of the eggs.
- The IUI procedure is usually done within 1 to 2 days after ovulation has been detected.
- IUI may be done about 36 hours after an injection of Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), the triggering hormone. You will need an ultrasound to see when your follicles may be ready.
Types of IUI
- All-natural with IUI, and ovulation induction with IUI- with Clomid or injection
The IUI Procedure
Your fertility expert at Ohio Reproductive Medicine will place a soft, thin catheter through the cervix into the uterus. The catheter is then filled with the sperm which is released into the uterus. This is a fast procedure, usually taking 15-20 minutes. The actual procedure takes just a few minutes and is completed in the doctor’s office.
Implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine wall occurs about 36-48 hours after the procedure.
Patients should wait at least 2 weeks before using an over-the-counter pregnancy test. Testing too soon could cause false positives or negatives. Or we may ask you to come to the office for a pregnancy blood test.
- Multiple pregnancies when ovulation-inducing drugs are used
Unassisted, natural conception depends on the woman’s age. Age 30 or younger women have a natural pregnancy rate of 20-25%. By age 40 the chance of pregnancy is about 5%.
Ovulation induction with IUI offers the ability to achieve natural success rates of women in their age group. Thus it may take more than one IUI cycle to achieve pregnancy.
At Ohio Reproductive Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, you are our top priority. We strive to provide you with a warm, welcoming team and comfortable atmosphere. We will provide you with the tools and resources you need to achieve your goal of parenthood. Contact us to learn more about Ohio Reproductive Medicine’s unparalleled services and treatments.