Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a highly effective technology. It is one of many proven treatments that we frequently use at Fertility Centers of Illinois to help our patients become pregnant.
As our patient, your team of fertility specialists will be there for you every step of the way to thoroughly explain the details of your customized treatment plan. This overview will provide you with general guidance about IUI. We will happily answer any further questions that you have about IUI and whether it is right for you in person.
What is IUI?
IUI is a process in which a woman receives daily hormone medications to stimulate the growth of multiple eggs, rather than the typical one egg that would naturally develop without medication. Once the eggs have reached the right stage, intrauterine inseminations are done using specially treated sperm from either the partner or a donor.
Benefits of IUI
An IUI is a very effective way to work around certain conditions that make it difficult to conceive on your own. Some of these conditions include:
- Scarring on the cervix
- Abnormal cervical mucous
- Severe pain during sex
- Erection or ejaculation problems
- Unexplained infertility
A woman without a partner may also choose to do an IUI using donor sperm to get pregnant. A man who has had cancer may have frozen his sperm before treatment and that sperm would be used in IUI as well.
Ovulation Induction Program
You and your physician may elect to proceed with ovulation induction with injection. This program has the possibility of five steps, though not all patients will explore all steps.
- Medications such as clomiphene citrate and gonadotropins are given that stimulate the growth and maturation of eggs.
- Ovulation is stimulated with the drug hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin).
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) with a partner’s or donor prepared sperm.
- Hormonal support after insemination with progestrone, if recommended by your primary physician.
- Follow up blood tests and obstetrical appointments.
There are two inherent risks involved with the use of gonadotropins, namely multiple pregnancies and enlargement of the ovaries during the second half of the cycle (called hyperstimulation).
These risks are increased when too many follicles mature at once and the estrogen in the blood is too elevated. Therefore, we consider it very important to have the ultrasounds and blood levels performed to carefully monitor a patient’s progress.
Success with the Ovulation Induction Program
Successful pregnancy occurs in approximately 15-20 percent of cycles we perform.
Because of the tremendous success we have had with IVF, ovulation induction has become a less popular option. To minimize the risks we have certain criteria above which we will recommend cancellation of the cycle. Should this occur, the hCG will not be given and abstinence recommended.