Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is usually one of the first fertility treatments offered. A sample of prepared sperm (either from the male partner or a sperm donor) is introduced directly into the uterus via the cervix at around the time of ovulation.
If IUI is an appropriate treatment for you, there are two types available, each of which will be discussed by your specialist.
In natural cycle IUI, no fertility drugs are taken and the procedure is timed to coincide with ovulation - that is usually between days 10 and 16 of your monthly cycle, with day one being the first day of a period. To help identify the likely date, you will be asked to carry out urine tests for ovulation. This will usually occur mid-cycle. You will then have to call the clinic and schedule an appointment for the insemination.
Fertility drugs are used in some patients to increase the likelihood of ovulation (and so increase the chance of conception). However, fertility drugs can increase the number of eggs developing to maturity so it is important to monitor their number before insemination. This is done by transvaginal ultrasound scans. Once the developing eggs have reached maturity, patients are given a single hormone injection (hCG) to stimulate ovulation. Because more than one egg may be released, ultrasound monitoring is usually continued to avoid the risk of a multiple pregnancy.
Whether in a natural or stimulated cycle, the insemination procedure is always the same. The prepared sperm is inserted through the vagina into the uterus via a small catheter (a soft, flexible tube). The whole procedure takes just a few minutes and is usually quite painless - some women may experience a temporary, menstrual-like cramping, so you may wish to rest for a short time before going home. You will be provided with a pregnancy test kit and asked to check for pregnancy 14-16 days after the procedure.
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