Intrauterine insemination, also known as IUI, can help couples with unexplained fertility struggles conceive a child. A good fertility team will suggest IUI as a potential treatment option if this could be beneficial in your situation. To really understand this insemination process, it is important to start right from the beginning.
What exactly is IUI?
As you may have already presumed, IUI is an insemination process during which the sperm is placed right into the uterus. This helps both the sperm and egg to have a better chance of leading into a potential pregnancy. Before you can find out if this type of treatment is right for you, you will first need to have a full assessment done. This could include a physical examination and any necessary scans to help understand why you’re having fertility problems to begin with.
The medical team overseeing you will be able to best assess the reason for your fertility issues. Depending on the outcome of this assessment, the medical team may suggest a different fertility treatment that may be more beneficial for you according to your circumstances. However, if there is inconclusive information about why you struggle with fertility, and male factor infertility has been ruled out, IUI may be an option.
If IUI is deemed the best option going forward for you, it will be important to begin with tracking your menstrual cycle. This is because the insemination will need to be done at a very specific time for the best chances of a potential pregnancy. Your ovaries will be closely monitored during this time to pinpoint when it is best to do the treatment. The medical team will also check your hormone levels as well as the thickness of your endometrial lining. All of this data will help make the timing just right for the insemination process.
Of course, it isn’t just the female body that needs to be prepped for this type of insemination. The male also needs to do his part by providing the sperm for the insemination. Whether you are using a partner or a donor sample, the sperm will need to be prepared appropriately for the process. This may include thawing a frozen sample for preparation on the morning of insemination and washing the sperm to find the most viable and healthy ones to use.
This next piece of information may surprise you in a good way. On the day of insemination, the actual process takes no more than ten minutes and should be painless. Interestingly, you will need to have a full bladder, so the most discomfort you may feel is hoping the insemination goes quickly so you can go to the bathroom! That’s right–a thin catheter with the sample is inserted through the cervix to the intended destination within the uterus, where the sperm is deposited.
There is, of course, a lot of technical things behind the scene-tasks that take place in preparation for IUI. Your medical team can give you all of the information you need and answer any important questions you have before your insemination treatment day.