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The Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Procedure

By Vicken Sahakian, M.D. on June 16, 2017

Sperm fertilizing an eggIntrauterine insemination (IUI) is a form of artificial insemination. The procedure involves placement of sperm into a woman's uterus in order to increase the chances of successful fertilization and pregnancy. Our Los Angeles fertility treatment specialists have helped many patients start families thanks to IUI.

Intrauterine insemination is often performed to address unexplained infertility when couples are otherwise healthy and seem to exhibit no obvious signs of infertility. We'd like to cover some of the basics of IUI and then look at the procedure itself.

Good Candidates for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Good candidates for intrauterine insemination are women who are of good health and have had problems conceiving through natural means. It's important that women have a good ovarian reserve, which means quality eggs that are viable and healthy. IUI is also helpful when a man suffers from poor sperm motility and/or low sperm count. Placing sperm closer to the egg boosts the chances of pregnancy.

As with all fertility procedures, it's important that patients understand all of the risks and benefits involved with treatment and have realistic expectations about the process and what it can achieve.

Preparing for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Preparing for IUI means proper analysis and timing. Women will be monitored to determine when ovulation will occur. Men will provide a semen sample, which fertility specialists will prep to ensure a high concentration of healthy, viable sperm.

The IUI procedure itself will be performed a day or two after ovulation is detected to increase the chances of success.

The Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Procedure

During the IUI procedure, a woman lies down on an examination table and places her legs in stirrups to allow a speculum to be placed in the vagina. A catheter is inserted through the cervical opening and positioned inside of the uterus. Sperm is sent into the uterus using the catheter and a syringe. Once the sperm is placed, the catheter and speculum are removed.

The overall treatment time is about 15 to 20 minutes. Medication and pain relievers are unnecessary for the procedure.

What to Expect After Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Following insemination, women will remain lying down for just a bit longer before sitting up and getting dressed. Patients can return to their normal daily routing immediately after the procedure is performed. Some light spotting is not uncommon for a day or two after IUI has been performed. Mild cramping is also a common side effect following IUI.

The Results of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Patients will be asked to wait about two weeks after their IUI treatment before they use an at-home pregnancy test. This should offer some sign of potential pregnancy. Keep in mind that the at-home test is not an official sign of pregnancy. Two weeks after the at-home test, patients will take a blood test to confirm pregnancy.

What If the Initial IUI Is Unsuccessful?

If a patient does not become pregnant with their first round of IUI, the procedure can be attempted again. Should additional IUI procedures prove ineffective, another fertility treatment option can be considered.

Learn More About Your Fertility Treatment Options

To learn more about your fertility treatment options and how we can help you start a family, be sure to contact our team of experienced fertility specialists today. Our doctors and staff will answer all questions you may have and address all of your concerns as well.

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