Infertility is a bigger problem than we think it is. Many couples face this problem. However, advances in assisted reproductive technologies have made it possible for infertile couples to achieve pregnancy. Intrauterine insemination (IUI, also sometimes called artificial insemination) is a procedure that has helped countless couples bring a child into this world. The constant rise in search queries like “IUI procedures near me” attests to the growing importance and popularity of this method. Let us take a look at what this procedure is and how you can benefit from it.
How Will an IUI Procedure Near Me Work?
In the U.S. alone, according to CDC data, 1 in 5 women (~19%) are unable to conceive after a year of having unprotected sex. The problem is not always with the woman; male factor infertility also contributes to the problem of not being able to get pregnant.
This means that there are thousands of couples (with women of childbearing age) that are unable to achieve normal pregnancy, leading to emotional issues, among others.
There could be many different reasons why a woman is unable to get pregnant. However, it is clear that the chances of conceiving are increased if an optimal amount of sperm is placed close to the eggs at a time when the woman is most fertile. And this is what IUI aims to achieve.
What Are the First Steps to Get Started with IUI?
Before starting with the actual procedure, the woman must undergo hysterosalpingography (HSG). It is an X-ray examination to see whether you have at least one open fallopian tube.
Both male and female partners need to be checked for infections. These include tests for HIV, HTLV-1, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
There is research to suggest that the semen quality of the male partner is vital in the success of IUI. Sperm count, motility, and the amount of sperm cells with normal morphology are important criteria linked with positive IUI outcomes. It is important that the male partner undergo a semen analysis. Semen analysis helps detect male infertility.
How is the IUI Procedure Performed?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a procedure that involves placing a prepared concentrated sperm sample directly through the cervix into the uterus through a catheter.
Let us understand the IUI procedure step by step. There are three basic steps to IUI.
Tracking of the Ovulation Cycle
If the ovulation cycles of the woman are normal, the main thing is to time the insemination to coincide with the most fertile period which is the time when the ovaries release the eggs. By careful tracking of the ovulation cycle, fertility experts can understand the time when the ovaries are ready to release the eggs.
However, in some cases, the woman might have irregular ovulation cycles, or the infertility is due to the male partner, or it may be a case of unexplained infertility. In such scenarios, the woman is given an ovulation-inducing agent to enhance the chances of pregnancy.
Ovulation is induced by various drug regimens – Examples of these could be:
o Those that increase the production of follicle stimulating hormones (FSH), like Clomid or clomiphene. They are given as pills from Day 2 to Day 6 of the cycle. This results in increased production of FSH which induces egg growth.
o Gonadotropins that are directly injected into the body. They are follicle-stimulating hormones given daily.
Whether the woman is ovulating normally or through inducing agents, it is vital to carefully monitor the cycle so as to maximize the chances of fertilization and eventual pregnancy. Monitoring can be done either at home or at the clinic.
A woman may use a urine ovulation detector kit that detects the increased amount of luteinizing hormone in the urine as a result of ovulation. This is identified as a surge which is much more than the baseline amount. This surge indicates that the woman’s body is ready for ovulation. A transvaginal ultrasound is the most accurate way to predict and detect ovulation. An imaging procedure carried out at the clinic that allows your fertility expert to observe your ovaries and egg growth to predict the time of ovulation.
Once ovulation is detected, the IUI procedure has to be done within a day or two for optimal results.
Collection and Preparation of Sperm Sample
For insemination you’ll need a semen sample from the male partner or sperm donor. If using fresh sperm from a partner, he should not have ejaculated one to three days prior to the day of sample collection. On the day of insemination, the male partner will collect his semen in a clean, dry, sterile container, through masturbation. This sample is then processed in the lab of the fertility clinic to remove the seminal fluid. The procedure also removes any debris and dead sperm cells. The washed sperm cells are then resuspended in a small volume of medium which thus creates a concentrated sample of active motile sperms.
Insemination (or introduction of sperm sample into the uterus)
The washed and concentrated sperm sample is now loaded inside a catheter which is then gently introduced inside the woman’s cervix near the top of the uterine cavity. This allows the sperm to reach the eggs faster and more effectively, thereby increasing the chances of fertilization.
The woman is asked to lie down for 10 minutes post insemination, after which she can continue with her daily routine. She might feel mild cramping in the lower abdomen. Some women also experience spotting for one or two days. But those are mild side effects and there is nothing to worry about.
IUI, though relatively easy and safe, is not just about placing the sperm sample close to the uterus to enhance the chances of success. It is a carefully calibrated procedure better performed and monitored by fertility experts. So if you are thinking of simply using a turkey baster to perform this procedure at home, think twice. You may be doing yourself more harm than good, and, discounting the risk of multiples and emotional harm, you will be literally shooting in the dark and praying to hit the target.
Are There Any Risks of the IUI Procedure Near Me?
Overall, IUI is a very safe procedure. However, there are certain risks that need to be understood. There is a very small risk (around 1%) of infection. There could be slight bleeding while placing the catheter inside the vagina.
Another risk associated with IUI is that of multiple pregnancies. While this may be a welcome “side effect” for some couples, those not desirous of multiple babies may find this outcome unwelcome. While IUI itself does not increase the risk of multiple pregnancies, if the procedure is done along with induction of ovulation, it may result in multiple eggs maturing at the same time and being fertilized by the many active sperm cells in the concentrated inseminated sample.
What Should I Do After the IUI Procedure?
You should wait at least two weeks before getting a home pregnancy test using over-the-counter test kits. However, if you perform the test too soon, you may get a false-positive or a false-negative test.
Because home pregnancy test kits detect raised hormonal levels in the urine, you are likely to get a false-positive test because if you are on hormone treatment for the induction of ovulation, these will be detected in the test, leading you to believe that you are pregnant.
If you aren’t on ovulation induction medication and even if you get pregnant after the IUI procedure, if your hormone levels aren’t up to detection levels, you may get a false-negative test result.
Visit your fertility clinic two weeks after getting your home test results. Your physician will perform a blood test to detect pregnancy which is much more sensitive than urine tests in detecting hormones after fertilization.
If you haven’t conceived, it is advisable to try the same procedure in the next ovulation cycle. IUI is usually performed for three to six weeks which increases the chances of success of the procedure.
How Do I Choose Donor Sperm?
Using donor sperm for IUI is a great way to get pregnant if you do not have a male partner, or are in same-sex relationship, or there are certain medical conditions that make using your male partner’s sperm sample difficult.
Sperm banks will allow you to choose from different sperm samples. All of these samples are from donors who have been carefully tested. However, depending upon where you live, there may be legal considerations you may have to look at before getting a sperm sample from a sperm bank.????? You may get clarification on who the donor is and only after you are convinced should you opt for a particular donor.
You can also choose to get a sperm sample from someone you know. That will be beneficial because you know the person and his background. It is advisable to take legal help so as not to get into complications later on in life.
Undergoing IUI Treatment in Palm Springs
At Dreams Fertility, we understand and acknowledge that fertility treatment is an emotionally challenging time for couples. We use the best technological advancements and procedures, coupled with a sensitive and approachable outlook. We try to make the entire process – from the first consult to a successful pregnancy – easy, safe, and hassle-free.
IUI is a safe and effective procedure that we have used to help many heterosexual and same-sex couples build their family. We are committed to advancing our methods and procedures in line with state-of-the-art ART so that they can benefit you.
Our fertility center serves all of Riverside County, Palm Springs, and across the entire Coachella Valley. Our world-class fertility specialists’ care has impacted the lives of thousands of couples and individuals and has empowered them with the means to start and enjoy the joys of a family. To start your journey with us, schedule your consult with our fertility specialists today.
Dr. Luis Murrain joined Dreams Fertility in 2021, providing specialty services in Fertility and Reproductive Genetics. With a shared vision that everyone deserves to have the family of their dreams, we are dedicated to helping all of our patients. We believe that families come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them are beautiful. We are proud to have a long history of providing services to all, including gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals and couples on their road to parenthood.