Intra-uterine insemination, or IUI for short, is the insertion (insemination) of processed sperm into the uterus (intra-uterine). IUI increases your chances of conceiving by inserting the most viable sperm cells into the upper region of the uterus, at the right time in your menstrual cycle. This ensures that the sperm cells are released closer to the oocyte and that they won’t need to manage to get past the barrier that is the cervix. Fertilization will take place inside the woman’s body (usually inside the fallopian tube). After fertilization, the oocyte will lodge in the uterus and the pregnancy will start to develop naturally from there.
Intra-uterine insemination using donated sperm, known as IUI-D, is the insertion (insemination) of processed donated sperm into the uterus (intra-uterine). IUI can increase your chances of conception if, in case of a heterosexual couple, the man is infertile or a carrier of a hereditary disease he doesn’t want to pass on to his child. For single women and lesbian couples, IUI-D is a safe option to fulfill their desire to have children.
Prior to the insemination, all your data (and your partner’s) is checked to ensure that there are no errors. The insemination is usually easier if the woman’s bladder is not completely empty.
After undressing, you’ll take place on the gynecological chair. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina to make sure your physician can see your cervix. A thin catheter will be inserted into the uterus and the sperm cells will enter your uterus through that. The only thing you’ll feel during this procedure is the speculum; you won’t feel the insertion of the catheter and the sperm.
After the insemination you can get dressed and leave the facility.
The insemination marks the start of an intense period of time. Usually, it takes between 10 and 14 days after ovulation before your menstruation starts. If menstruation hasn’t started two full weeks after the insemination, you can do a pregnancy test.
After being inseminated, you can do all your daily activities. You can have sex without issue, too. We do advise you to behave as if you could be pregnant, especially regarding food and drink. We implore women to adhere to the same kinds of advice after being inseminated as they would if they were confirmed pregnant.
We encourage the use of folic acid during the period between 4 weeks prior to the insemination and 10 weeks into your pregnancy.
Unless your treating physician tells you otherwise, if you’re not pregnant, you can start a new IUI treatment the following month.
If you’re pregnant, you can schedule an appointment with your treating nurse or physician to do a pregnancy ultrasound. This ultrasound will usually happen at around the 7th or 8th week of your pregnancy.
Attempting to conceive has as much to do with your mental and emotional state as it does with your physical body, and it’s important to pay attention to those as well. It’s always possible for you to take a break in a series of IUI treatments if you need to. In addition to that, you can always schedule an interim evaluation with your treating physician if necessary. At the TFP MC Kinderwens, we feel that it’s important to offer strong emotional support when it’s needed. You can simply schedule a (free) appointment with our fertility counselor.
We recommend undergoing an IUI treatment in a natural menstrual cycle to couples in the following cases:
If the man has low quality sperm;
If they are unable to have sexual intercourse and self-insemination hasn’t led to a pregnancy;
If antibodies against one’s own sperm are present (the presence of these antibodies inhibits the sperm cell’s agility);
If the man experiences retrograde ejaculation (meaning the ejaculate will enter the bladder instead of being propelled out through the urethra).
We recommend undergoing an IUI treatment in a stimulated menstrual cycle to couples in the following cases:
If they’re suffering from fertility issues not yet understood and their chances of conceiving naturally within the next year are lower than 30%;
If they haven’t been able to conceive when undergoing an IUI treatment in a natural menstrual cycle.
We recommend undergoing an IUI treatment using donated sperm to:
Couples in which the man is infertile;
Couples where the man is a carrier of a (severe) hereditary issue;