What is intrauterine insemination?
Intrauterine insemination is a simple procedure in which the sperm is placed directly into the uterus, which allows healthy sperm to get closer to the egg.
How does intrauterine insemination work?
Sometimes, the acronym “IUI” is used to refer to this type of insemination. It is also known as “donor insemination,” “alternative insemination,” or “artificial insemination.” Intrauterine insemination involves putting sperm directly into the uterus while you are ovulating, which helps the sperm get closer to the egg. This reduces the time and distance that the sperm must travel, which facilitates the fertilization of the ovule.
Before undergoing the insemination procedure, you may take fertility medications that stimulate ovulation. The semen of your partner or a donor is collected. The semen goes through a process called “sperm washing” that collects a concentrated amount of healthy sperm from the semen.
Afterwards, the doctor places the sperm directly in the uterus. Pregnancy occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg, and the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus.
Intrauterine insemination is a simple, low-tech procedure, and may be less expensive than other types of fertility treatments. It increases your chances of achieving a pregnancy, but each person’s body is different, so there is no guarantee that intrauterine insemination will work.
What can I expect during intrauterine insemination?
Before intrauterine insemination, you may take fertility medications that help the ovules mature and prepare to be fertilized. The doctor will do the insemination procedure during ovulation (when the ovaries release an egg). Sometimes, they may give you hormones that activate ovulation. They will determine exactly when you are ovulating and ready for the procedure in order to maximize your chances of achieving pregnancy. Your partner or donor collects the semen sample at home or at the doctor’s office.
The sperm is prepared for insemination by a process called “sperm washing”, in which a concentrated amount of healthy sperm is extracted. Sperm washing also removes chemicals in semen that can cause reactions in the uterus and make it harder for you to get pregnant. If you use sperm from a donor from a sperm bank, these institutions usually send sperm to the doctor’s office that is previously “washed” and ready for insemination. During the intrauterine insemination procedure, the doctor slides a thin flexible tube into the uterus through the cervix.
Use a small syringe to insert the sperm through the tube directly into the uterus. Pregnancy occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg, and the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. The insemination procedure is done in the doctor’s office or in a fertility clinic, and only takes between 5 and 10 minutes.
It is very fast and you do not need anesthesia. Intrauterine insemination is usually not painful, but in some cases mild cramping occurs.