Intrauterine insemination (IUI) with donor sperm is a technique used to achieve pregnancy in couples that may be experiencing infertility. This procedure involves placing the sperm near the uterus around the time of ovulation to increase chances of conceiving.
If you are ready to begin your journey to parenthood and have decided to consider IUI with donor sperm, here are some key pieces of information that you might want to know before making a decision.
IUI vs. IVF – What’s the Difference?
If you’re considering whether to conceive, you may be wondering whether to go with IUI or IVF. While both of these techniques can help you get pregnant, they have different processes and have potential side effects and risks.
IUI is a procedure where a donor or partner’s sperm is placed in the uterus around the time an ovary releases eggs for fertilization, helping ensure that the sperm is close to the egg and shortening the distance they have to travel. Unlike IUIs, IVF directly fertilizes an egg with sperm in a laboratory setting, which involves removing the ovum or ova and re-implanting the embryo.
IVF is more invasive and expensive, but it can prove more effective, especially for couples dealing with fallopian tube blockages or male infertility. IUI is considered far less invasive since there is no removal of eggs or transfer of an embryo. Before going directly to IVF, many individuals often try one or two rounds of IUI first.
Why Choose IUI?
There are many reasons why couples might choose IUI for treating infertility, including:
- Use of donor sperm
- Male infertility
- Female infertility (endometriosis-related, cervical, or ovulatory)
In some rare cases, a person may be allergic to semen, which irritates the skin that it comes into contact with due to its proteins. If a semen allergy is detected, a fertility specialist can remove these proteins before insertion during the IUI process.
How IUI Works with Donor Sperm
If you decide to use a donor sperm sample for your IUI procedure, your fertility specialist will refer you to a frozen sperm bank with a range of donors that you can choose from. Each donor profile includes information that can help you decide, such as physical appearance characteristics, family medical history, general life information (career, education level, etc.), and other important facts.
After you have selected your sample, it is prepared for your IUI procedure by your doctor. A speculum is inserted into the vagina on the day of the procedure. After this, a catheter that contains the healthy sperm sample is attached.
The sperm sample is sent through the catheter to its endpoint in the uterus. Once the sample has been successfully placed in the uterus, the catheter and speculum are removed. After this, you must rest under medical observation for a brief period to ensure no complications, and then you are cleared to leave. After the procedure, you may notice light spotting for 1-3 days.
When to Test for Pregnancy
If you have been trying to conceive through IUI with donor sperm, it can be difficult to know when to test for pregnancy. When you are ready, here are some signs that indicate that you may be pregnant:
- You have morning sickness
- You feel bloated or gassy
- Your breasts are tender and swollen
- Your nipples are sore and/or leaking fluid
- You have more frequent urination
- You have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
It is generally recommended that an IUI recipient waits at least two weeks before taking a pregnancy test to ensure a more accurate result. You may want to take more than one test to avoid the possibility of a false positive or false negative. You should also have a blood test done at your fertility practice to confirm any home pregnancy test results.
Start Your Donor IUI Journey in Palm Springs, CA
Creating a family can be challenging, but today’s many options make this process easier. Donor IUI can be an excellent option for couples looking to grow their family, and it is an alternate approach for those with diagnosed male or female infertility.
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.