Many individuals who seek fertility treatment want to know what steps are involved and what the timeline is like for intrauterine insemination (IUI).
Intrauterine insemination introduces concentrated sperm directly into the uterus so that it has less distance to travel to reach the egg. IUI significantly increases the chance of pregnancy for those with certain fertility issues. Individuals from the San Antonio, TX area who are considering IUI can learn about the IUI timeline that is followed at the Fertility Center of San Antonio.
Testing and Treatment Planning
Prior to starting IUI, patients will undergo a series of fertility tests. These tests monitor a woman’s menstrual cycle, check hormone levels, and evaluate the quantity and quality of female eggs and male sperm. Fertility testing helps pinpoint what is causing infertility so that our doctors can address it properly. If fertility testing finds that patients are good candidates for IUI, we will proceed with treatment.
Starting Fertility Medication
IUI treatment can be performed in line with a woman’s natural menstrual cycle. However, we often recommend the use of fertility medication. Fertility medication stimulates the ovaries so that multiple mature eggs are produced and released. Fertility drugs also give us greater control over a woman’s cycle, so that we can accurately predict the best time to perform IUI treatment. Women who use fertility medication are generally asked to begin using the medication on day two or three of their period.
Receiving a Trigger Shot
After our San Antonio patients have completed prescribed fertility medication, they may require a shot of human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. This is referred to as a trigger shot. The trigger shot stimulates the release of mature eggs, which maximizes the chance that the IUI procedure will be a success. A trigger shot may be administered between seven and 16 days after starting fertility medication. Our doctors monitor hormone levels while our patients undergo ovarian stimulation, and order a specific trigger shot date based on this information.
The IUI Procedure
A day after a patient receives the trigger shot, they will undergo the IUI procedure. The procedure itself only takes about five to 10 minutes. Washed and concentrated sperm is placed into a thin, flexible catheter. The catheter is inserted through the vagina and cervix so that the semen can be deposited directly into the uterus. Once the semen has been introduced to the uterus, the catheter is removed. The procedure is fast and relatively pain-free. Some patients may experience mild cramping or bloating, similar to what may be experienced during a pap smear.
After IUI treatment, we ask that patients not take a pregnancy test at home. False positives are not uncommon in the days after IUI, especially if fertility drugs were used. Instead, patients come to our practice for an official pregnancy test, about two weeks after their procedure. A blood test will tell us if the treatment has been a success or if we should consider another IUI cycle.
Schedule Your Appointment
At the Fertility Center of San Antonio, our doctors offer a wide range of fertility treatments. If you have more questions about IUI, or the other services we provide, call (210) 981-4074 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.