In a previous article, we discussed IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), the relatively simple and affordable procedure, including what IUI is, when IUI is usually used, how safe is IUI, and how IUI works (read our introductory article about IUI here).
In this article, we will walk you through the whole procedure once again, but in step-by-step detail to help you better understand and prepare for your visit to our clinic. Can’t wait to start? Let’s begin.
- Your First Consultation
When: Whenever you are ready to have an appointment
How long: 30-45 minutes
Prior to any procedure, the first important step is for you to consult with a fertility doctor at a reputable and experienced fertility clinic. Depending on your underlying causes of infertility, your doctor may ask the female to undergo some tests, such as an examination of your uterus and fallopian tubes, a hormonal evaluation, and other tests that may be necessary, and for the male to undertake a semen analysis. The goal of this first consultation is for your doctor to examine and review your overall physical condition and help you to decide if IUI is the best option for you. Patients with severe infertility may find IUI less effective than patients with mild infertility causes.
This first session is also your opportunity to discuss your concerns about IUI, the process, the cost, and anything else you wanted to know. Use this opportunity to be comfortable and satisfied with the doctor, the clinic, and the options. A trustworthy fertility clinic and an experienced doctor should make you feel that you are in good and reliable hands, and that you can be certain that whatever you encounter, he or she will be able to advise the most proper and suitable solution with experience, competency, and knowledge.
- Ovarian Stimulation
When: Day 2 or day 3 of your period
How long: 10 – 12 days
Once you have done your fertility assessments and decided to proceed, the first step of IUI is to decide on whether a natural cycle or a stimulated cycle is required. We may have to provide a level of stimulation to your ovaries to ensure you have a follicle to ovulate. Whether natural or stimulated, we will monitor the cycle and to determine the timing of the IUI.
Any stimulation drugs can be either injectable, oral, or combined, depending on the doctor’s evaluation of your physical and ovarian condition. During this time, you will be asked to come to the clinic every few days for around 9 to 12 days for blood tests and ultrasounds. The goal for the visits is to monitor how your ovaries are responding, how much your follicles or your eggs have grown, to adjust any medications if necessary, and to time the IUI procedure. You and your partner may be asked to abstain from a sexual intercourse or ejaculation for a few days prior to the IUI procedure.
Once a follicle is at least 18-20mm, and the uterine lining is at least 7mm, a “trigger shot” can be given to trigger ovulation. The IUI is scheduled for about 36 hours after the trigger medication is injected.
- IUI Process
When: 36 – 42 hours after a trigger shot
How long: 15-20 minutes
36 – 42 hours after your trigger shot, you and your male partner will return to the clinic to finally begin the IUI process. During this stage, your male partner will provide a semen sample. Masturbation is the recommended method for semen collection as it will lower the chance of bacterial contamination which might be found in any bodily fluids. The sample will immediately be taken to the laboratory, left for 30 minutes to liquefy and then washed to remove debris, immobile sperm, and substances in the semen that can irritate your uterus or kill the egg. The highly concentrated sample of healthy sperm also increases the chance of achieving pregnancy.
Once the sperm are washed and ready, your doctor will begin the final minor surgical procedure for IUI, starting by using a speculum to gently open your vagina and visualize your cervix. Once the vision is clear, your doctor will inject the sperm sample into your uterus using a long, thin, soft tube so that the sperm can swim into the fallopian tube allowing it to easily meet and fertilize the ovulated egg(s). The whole process is relatively painless, needs no anesthesia, and takes only 5-10 minutes to finish. After the IUI procedure is complete, you will need to lay down and take rest for around 30 minutes before being discharged.
- Pregnancy Test
When: 14 days after the IUI procedure
How long: 2-3 minutes
About 14 days after the IUI procedure, you can take a pregnancy test at home or at the clinic. The doctor may ask you to come back to the clinic for a blood test to detect the level of the pregnancy hormones. If the first IUI cycle is not successful, don’t be discouraged yet. You can try again for up to 3-4 rounds or, in some cases, up to 6 rounds depending on how young you are. If after 4 – 6 rounds, pregnancy still doesn’t occur, your doctor may suggest you to consider other treatment options such as IVF or ICSI. After IUI, you can continue normal daily activities including sexual intercourse.
Superior A.R.T. is committed to making your dream of having a healthy baby come true.
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