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Intrauterine Insemination, IUI

Intrauterine insemination is a basic treatment that can help make parenthood possible

Texas Fertility Center offers a variety of treatments that range from the basic to the more-advanced. Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is one of the first-line treatments that our Austin infertility specialists may recommend. This process, also known as artificial insemination, can increase your chance of conceiving by placing sperm directly in the uterus.

What is the first step of an IUI cycle?

Your doctor will first ask your male partner to provide a semen sample by masturbating and ejaculating into a sterile container. For the best results, he should avoid ejaculating for two to five days before collecting the sample. If you will be using a sperm donor, your donor will have already provided a sample.

Our Austin infertility specialists know that some patients may not be able to collect sperm using this technique for religious or other reasons. An alternative is to use a special condom during intercourse to collect the sperm. You can discuss this option with your nurse or your doctor.

Once our andrologists receive the sample in the laboratory, they will wash and prepare it. This important process involves separating the active sperm from the inactive sperm and seminal fluid. Doing so ensures that the sperm is ready to use for the IUI cycle.

What can you expect during artificial insemination?

Sometimes, our Austin infertility specialists will perform a natural cycle IUI, or a cycle without fertility medications. However, most of the time, we will prescribe an oral medication like Clomid or injectable gonadotropins. The type of medication that you’re taking will influence the timing of your intrauterine insemination and how many cycles you’ll need.

  • If you’re taking Clomid, you’ll use an ovulation predictor kit to determine when you’re ovulating (releasing an egg). You’ll only require one IUI with a Clomid cycle.
  • If you’re taking gonadotrophins, you’ll receive a trigger shot of Ovidrel to cause ovulation. At Texas Fertility Center, you’ll have two IUIs with a gonadotropins cycle.

During an IUI, you’ll lie on your back on an examination table and rest your feet in the supports. Your doctor will place a speculum in the vagina before using a thin, flexible tube (catheter) to deposit the prepared sperm in the uterus. This process typically takes two to three minutes.

You may feel some cramping during the procedure, but this usually resolves quickly. After depositing the sperm and removing the tube, your doctor will have you lie still for about 10 minutes. You can then resume your normal activities and return to work.

The chance of conceiving with intrauterine insemination depends on your treatment protocol.

  • 6-10% with a natural cycle
  • 8-12% with a Clomid/IUI cycle
  • 15-25% with a gonadotropin/IUI cycle

Your doctor will monitor you after the procedure to determine whether it was successful.

Who is a good candidate for intrauterine insemination?

Our Austin infertility specialists find that artificial insemination can help patients with a variety of female and male fertility issues.

Intrauterine insemination is also a great option for couples with male infertility, single women and lesbian couples who will be using donor sperm as part of their treatment.

However, this treatment isn’t an option in cases of tubal infertility. This is because a blockage in or damage to the fallopian tubes can prevent the egg and sperm from meeting. Such an issue can also prevent the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus to implant.

If tubal infertility is an issue, our team will likely recommend a treatment like in vitro fertilization, or IVF. Your doctor may also recommend this family-building option if you haven’t conceived after multiple IUI cycles.

The entire Texas Fertility Center team is here to help your dream of parenthood come true. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about fertility treatments like artificial insemination.