IUI and what to expect before and during the procedure
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure designed to give sperm a boost by placing a high concentration of moving sperm into the uterus, closer to the site where fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube. If this fertility treatment is recommended for you, it’s important to understand IUI and what to expect when you come in for the insemination procedure.
During intercourse, sperm must take a long journey through the cervical mucus, cervix and uterus to finally enter the fallopian tubes at the top of the uterus before finding the egg. With IUI, the sperm are placed high into the uterine cavity, getting them about halfway to their ultimate destination. In addition, the sperm-processing procedure activates the sperm, increasing the likelihood that they will be able to fertilize the egg when they reach it.
IUI is a reasonable treatment for all patients with mild to moderate male factor infertility. Pregnancy rates are optimized when at least 10 million moving sperm can be inseminated.
Processing the sperm
Besides giving the sperm a head start, IUI includes “washing” the semen specimen before insemination, a process that separates the best sperm (normally shaped and motile sperm) from the abnormally shaped and non-motile sperm.
If you’re wondering about the process of IUI and what to expect, rest assured that the procedure is quick and simple. The processed sperm are placed into a small catheter (a flexible plastic tube), which is passed through the cervix and into the uterus by one of our fertility specialists.
The IUI procedure generally takes less than one minute and causes minimal to no cramping. We will then ask you to lay still for about 10 minutes before you resume your normal daily activities.
Of course, sperm will need to be collected for use in this procedure. If you’re curious about collecting sperm for IUI and what to expect in this part of the process, it may be reassuring to know that you have options.
Your partner can collect a semen specimen either at home or at the clinic. The best method of collection is masturbation. If the collection is performed at home, we will provide a cup in which to collect the specimen. Only water should be used as a lubricant, any other lubricant types can reduce motility or even kill the sperm.
The specimen should then be delivered to Ovation within one hour of the time it was collected. After identity verification, our staff will take it for processing. We recommend keeping the specimen at room or body temperature until it is dropped off. Please do NOT let the specimen sit in the hot Texas sun in a hot car, as the sperm will be dead by the time they are processed.
If you would like to collect in the office, just let us know. We understand that this can be an awkward process for some, but please know that this is a normal, everyday procedure for us. Please don’t feel embarrassed!
For more information about IUI, contact us to schedule a consultation.