Intrauterine Insemination, also known as “IUI” is a low tech form of fertility treatment that couples may use to increase the likelihood of pregnancy.
An IUI cycle typically begins with ovarian stimulation, this means that the female partner may take medications to help induce ovulation. IUI may also be performed in a natural cycle without the use of medications as well. An ultrasound is scheduled around the time of ovulation to measure the follicles. Follicles are small fluid filled sacs produced in the ovary, when the follicle reaches a certain size an egg will be released (ovulation). Once the appropriate ovulation time is determined, a medication called HCG is used to stimulate ovulation so that the IUI may be performed at the ideal time.
The IUI is an in-office procedure that uses a specially prepared semen sample that has been obtained from the male partner or a donor. The prepared sperm has been washed to remove any bacteria, dead sperm or debris prior to insemination. The sperm is placed gently in the uterus using a catheter, which is carefully maneuvered through the cervix during ovulation. The IUI provides the sperm with a shorter journey to the egg, but still requires the sperm to fertilize the egg on its own.
IUI is considered a relatively painless and inexpensive procedure, which is very similar to the Pap smear performed at your annual exam. After the procedure, the patient is typically educated to lay down and relax for 10-20 minutes. Approximately two weeks after the procedure, a pregnancy test can be taken to see if the procedure was successful.