18 Aug Preparing for your IUI
For many, an intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle is the first step in the fertility treatment path. It is most used in conjunction with Clomid (a safe, effective oral fertility medication). IUI can support multiple infertility factors such as irregular ovulation, PCOS, and poor sperm count.
While it is considered a less involved and smoother fertility treatment than IVF, most patients are a little nervous their first time around. The more you prepare for an upcoming IUI, the more comfortable you will feel.
5 Things to Know Before Your IUI Appointment
Here are five things to know and prepare for before your first round of IUI.
1. What happens?
IUI is an outpatient procedure and is pretty low-tech when compared with IVF and other more involved fertility treatments. From start to finish, the procedure takes about 20 minutes or less, which means you’ll probably spend more time in the waiting room and laying on the table for 15 minutes afterwards to recover than experiencing the procedure itself.
Depending on your age or diagnosis, your fertility specialist may recommend pairing the procedure with Clomid, in order to increase your chances of success.
Timing is everything! We time the procedure with your natural cycle, which means your uterus and uterine lining will be ready to receive the resulting fertilized egg(s) if conception is successful. To do this, you’ll visit our office a few times during your cycle, where we’ll use a combination of blood tests and ultrasound to monitor estrogen levels and verify you’re ovulating successfully.
When you ovulate, you’ll come into our office where we’ll use a catheter to inject prepared sperm (your partner’s or a donor’s sperm) directly into your uterus. Most women report that, while it may be uncomfortable and a bit awkward, IUI procedures are not painful.
2. You may opt (or be prescribed) to take Clomid
Clomid is the oldest, tried-and-true oral fertility medication. FDA approved for nearly 60 years, it is prescribed in doses designed to minimize the number of eggs your body releases, which simultaneously reduces your risk of conceiving multiples.
Depending on your age, your infertility diagnosis, and your reproductive history, your doctor may recommend Clomid to boost your chances of conception. If your partner’s sperm seem to be the issue, Clomid is almost always recommended to give the sperm a better chance of connecting with an egg.
Unlike injectable fertility medications, the side effects of Clomid are almost always quite mild. Read our post, Clomid: 7 Facts to Know, to learn more.
3. There might be a “trigger shot” involved
As with a Clomid prescription, your age and diagnosed infertility factors may mean a recommendation to use a trigger shot. This is a hormonal injection that forces the release of the eggs. It is a standard for IVF cycles and may be recommended so that we can more accurately time the egg release and ensuing sperm injection.
4.. Your partner will submit a sperm sample
Your partner will contribute a sperm sample in our office. The sperm sample is analyzed, “washed” to remove mucous and unhealthy or inactive sperm, and then concentrated, so the strongest and healthiest sperm are the ones we introduce to the uterus.
Before transferring the sperm into your uterus, they will be warmed to replicate a natural semen temperature (slightly below body temperature), in order to replicate unassisted reproduction as much as possible.
5. You’ll survive the two week wait
Referred to as the two week wait (TWW), women and couples who go through IUI or IVF wind up having to survive the next 14 days before they can find out whether they have conceived or not. It can feel like time never moved so slowly, and yet it is pointless to jump the gun and take a pregnancy test.
Visit our post, Surviving the Two Week Wait, for ideas on how to remain as calm and stress-free as possible.
Are you looking to take the next step in your fertility treatment journey? Schedule a consultation with us at the Virginia Fertility & IVF.