Intrauterine insemination, otherwise referred to as IUI, is a relatively simple fertility treatment that involves transferring semen that has been washed in a special way directly into the uterus via a thin catheter. IUI is also commonly referred to as AI, or artificial insemination. IUI is typically the first treatment that Cary NC fertility specialists at NCCRM recommend, and it can be performed with or without fertility drugs. The cost of IUI differs depending on the clinic who performs the procedure, but it is much more affordable than IVF.
Indications That IUI Is Necessary
NCCRM fertility specialists Cary NC recommend that patients pursue an IUI cycle when timed intercourse in conjunction with the use of fertility medication has a low likelihood of success or has failed. IUI treatment may also be recommended if your spouse has male infertility, you have hostile cervical mucus, unexplained infertility, if a sperm donor is being used, or if sexual pain makes intercourse not possible. IUI is not recommended if you have blocked fallopian tubes, severe endometriosis, or a previous pelvic infection. Also, it is important to note that in some instances certain insurance companies will require a few cycles of IUI before paying for an IVF treatment.
IUI Step By Step:
- Before starting treatment, NCCRM fertility specialists Cary NC will do a medical evaluation of both the female and male partner. For men, this primarily involves obtaining a semen analysis. For women, hormone levels such as AMH and FSH are checked, which offer indirect information about egg supply and ovarian function. A physical evaluation and vaginal ultrasound are also performed and any relevant medical history is discussed.
- Next, the woman will begin taking oral or injectable medication to stimulate the growth and maturation of her eggs. The injections are just beneath the skin and recommended in an area of the body with fat, such as your stomach or the top of the thigh. Oral medication is taken for 5 days and injectable medication is usually taken for 8-12 days based on how the ovaries respond.
- While on injectable medication, brief ultrasound appointments are needed every 2-3 days to monitor the ovaries and egg development. Blood tests are also completed to assess hormone levels related to egg growth and ovarian function to make sure everything is progressing as it should.
- Once a “ripe” egg is present, a patient receives a “trigger shot” that causes ovulation within about 36 hours. The shot can be given by a nurse at the clinic or self-administered at home. This is when the male partner provides a sperm sample or a donor sperm sample is thawed, then processed by the laboratory. During preparation, the sperm sample is “washed” to remove debris, immobile sperm, and substances in semen that could cause severe cramping.
- Next, the sperm sample is injected into the uterus through a thin, long, flexible catheter. The entire process is virtually painless and takes seconds to complete by fertility specialists Cary NC. On some occasions, insemination will be recommended two days in a row, but in most cases, a single well-timed insemination is all that is needed in each cycle.
- A week after ovulation, progesterone levels are often tested. For some patients, additional hormone support, such as progesterone, may be suggested to help prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. Progesterone support is often used for women with recurrent miscarriage. About two weeks after insemination, follow up blood testing will determine if the IUI treatment was successful, resulting in a positive pregnancy test.
NCCRM – Cary NC Fertility Specialists
NCCRM is the premier center for reproductive health in North Carolina and the East Coast. Our team specializes in fertility testing, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility conditions. We’re experts in IVF, Tubal Ligation Reversal, Male Infertility, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Gestational Surrogacy, Family Balancing, and more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!