Why do I need IUI?
Common reasons for needing IUI treatment:
- You are using donor sperm in your treatment (donor insemination)
- You are unable (or would find it very difficult) to have vaginal intercourse
- You have a condition that means you need specific help to conceive
Before proceeding to IUI treatment your clinician is likely to advise you have a tubal test - either a HyCoSy or HSG, to ensure your fallopian tubes are open and IUI would be suitable.
Types of IUI Treatment
With a natural IUI cycle the insemination will take place when you have a positive ovulation surge. We arrange pre-ovulation scan for you ahead of when we expect you to ovulate to ensure the right conditions for transfer.
For a stimulated IUI treatment cycle you will be provided with medication to try to get your uterus to the optimal condition for insemination.
Your consultant will discuss which treatment option they think will be the most suitable.
You will have a planning appointment with the nursing team before proceeding to treatment to arrange medication and treatment dates.
Frequently asked questions
What are the chances of getting pregnant?
The chance of a successful pregnancy with IUI depends on several factors such as the woman’s age, the quality of the man’s sperm and the underlying cause of their delay in conceiving. You will be advised of your chance of a successful pregnancy. From our previous experience, BCRM has one of highest success rates in the country.
Is IUI helpful if the sperm is not the problem?
IUI can help improve the probability of pregnancy if the cause of infertility is unknown (unexplained), when there is endometriosis, and where cervical mucus may be a problem. IUI also increases the chance of success in patients with suboptimal sperm counts. With normal intercourse, it is more difficult for suboptimal sperm to make it through the cervical mucus, and up through the fallopian tubes. IUI allows more sperm to be available for fertilisation. However, in patients with very low or abnormal sperm counts, IUI is not effective.
When does my donor sperm need to be at BCRM?
If you are using donor sperm for treatment, your donor samples will need to be at BCRM before you notify of your cycle day 1.
The 5 step process
Stimulated IUI cycle
1. Ultrasound Scan
When you are ready to proceed with your IUI treatment, we will ask you to contact us on the first day of your period. We will then see you for a vaginal ultrasound scan and sometimes a blood test to check that you are ready to start the drugs. At this appointment, we will be able to go through your drug schedule and will ask you to start your stimulation drugs.
2. Mild Stimulation
The first drug is to stimulate your ovaries to produce at least one mature egg sac (follicle), this drug is given by injection. You will be shown how to give your injections by one of the fertility nurses. The injections are only inserted just beneath the skin, not into muscle, which most patients find that they can cope with easily. The dose of injection, and then when you need to take it, will be set out in the written schedule which you will be given at your first scan.
3. Check Up
We see patients in the clinic to monitor their progress during treatment. This requires at least one further ultrasound scan in the clinic and sometimes blood tests. Everyone responds at different rates. When we can see that a follicle is growing and becoming mature, we will ask you to start the second injection. This will prevent you from releasing the egg before your IUI. At this point, you will be doing two injections a day.
4. Sperm Sample
The sperm sample needs to be produced on the day the IUI is to take place and the procedure will be performed later the same day. If using donor sperm, your samples will need to be at BCRM before you notify the team of your cycle day 1.
The insemination itself is very simple and is a bit like having a cervical smear taken. A speculum is inserted into the vagina, the cervix is cleaned and a fine plastic straw is then passed into the uterus; the sperm is then injected through a straw.