How Does the IUI Process Work at a Fertility Clinic?
Intrauterine Insemination, or IUI, is among the top treatment options fertility clinics can recommend to patients experiencing difficulties conceiving naturally. IUI is a type of artificial insemination that involves placing sperm directly into the uterus.
With this treatment method, fertility specialists can help increase the chances of fertilization and successful implantation on the uterine wall. Here is more information about how the IUI process works at a fertility clinic:
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Before fertility specialists can recommend infertility treatment solutions, they must evaluate your case. During your first visit to the fertility clinic, your doctor will evaluate your medical history and run some tests to determine the potential cause of your infertility.
These tests can help confirm that you are a good candidate for IUI while assessing other factors that might affect the procedure’s success, such as age, ovarian reserve, and partner’s sperm quality.
Your fertility specialist will explain the benefits and risks of IUI and review its potential costs and success rates.
IUI is often performed at peak ovulation to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Fertility specialists can prescribe medications that stimulate the ovaries to produce more high-quality eggs. These medications can include oral pills like letrozole, clomiphene citrate, or hormone injections like follicle-stimulating hormone.
During ovulation induction, fertility specialists may use urine and blood tests or ultrasound scans to monitor oocyte production.
Mid-cycle ultrasounds can also help fertility specialists decide whether the medications need to be adjusted or detect missteps so they can salvage the cycle. They will schedule the IUI procedure once the egg is released from the ovary and ready to be fertilized.
Fertility specialists collect your partner’s or donor’s sperm on the day of insemination. The sperm is collected in a sterile container and transferred into the uterus quickly to promote motility.
You can opt for a frozen sample from a sperm bank or previous collection, but the frozen samples must be prepared beforehand. Fertility clinics can perform sperm evaluation tests beyond motility and count, like volume, concentration, and pH, to quantify the probability of a sperm generating a pregnancy.
These tests include basic semen analysis, magnified semen analysis, and sperm DNA fragmentation testing.
While collected sperm can fertilize mature eggs, fertility specialists can prepare it to improve the chances of successful treatment.
Sperm preparation can involve washing the semen sample to remove the seminal fluid. This can help concentrate sperm cells and reduce the risk of cramping and uterine infection. Sperm preparation and washing can help promote fertilization for successful conception.
The collected sperm is inserted into the uterus after preparation to begin the fertilization process. During sperm insertion, fertility specialists may have you lie on an exam table with your legs raised in a stirrups position.
They insert a speculum into the vagina and open it to access your cervix. The specialist then uses a thin catheter to inject the washed sperm sample into your uterus. Sperm insertion is a simple procedure and is usually painless.
The IUI procedure is quick and minimally invasive, and patients can go home after insertion. Fertility specialists may recommend resting after the procedure before resuming usual activities.
Some patients can experience mild spotting or cramping after the procedure, but this is normal and not harmful to the pregnancy.
Patients should avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen since they can interfere with implantation.
Fertility specialists may also recommend avoiding caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or recreational drug use until patients confirm they are pregnant.
Fertility specialists may schedule follow-up sessions several weeks after the IUI procedure to see if the procedure was successful. They can administer pregnancy or blood tests to confirm successful fertilization and implantation.
Women who successfully get pregnant through IUI will be advised on how and when to start prenatal care.
Patients with negative test results can repeat the procedure during another cycle or explore other assisted reproductive techniques with their fertility specialist.
Visit Reputable Fertility Clinics
IUI treatment is a popular solution for women experiencing difficulty conceiving naturally, unexplained infertility, or sexual dysfunction.
This procedure can also help patients conceive who do not have ready access to sperm, like single women or same-sex couples.
Visiting reputable fertility clinics for your IUI procedures can help make your experience more comfortable and positive. Schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist today to determine whether IUI is right for you.