Intrauterine insemination popularly known as IUI is a fertility treatment that involves the placement of the sperm into the woman’s uterus to help increase her chances of getting pregnant.
How is IUI procedure performed?
Timing is very important to achieve positive result for the IUI procedure, when the sperm is released into the woman’s uterus it does not remain there for some days like normal intercourse (sperm can be there for two days waiting to be fertilized) what this implies is that the sperm has to be inserted near the woman’s ovulation time.
With the aid of ovulation predictor kit which measures the woman’s LH surge, the woman’s ovulation time can be determined. Meanwhile the woman’s LH surge is usually at it’s peak around 12-24 hours before the release of her eggs, a urine test is done to find out if the result comes out positive, the IUI procedure is done the next day.
The timing of the ovulation can also be adjusted artificially through the administration of HCG injection (an ultrasound to determine if the eggs are matured or not should be conducted first), after the woman is given an HCG injection, within 36 hours ovulation should occur. So if the woman was given the HGC injection in the evening, the IUI procedure can be conducted after two days (by which time the woman should be ovulating).
How is the sperm collected?
Before the woman is scheduled for IUI, the man’s semen sample is collected in a sterile collection cup then the sperm is left inside the clinic’s incubator. Couples don’t have to abstain from intercourse while doing IUI, usually the couple are advised to have intercourse on the day the ovulation kit gives a positive result or after the woman is given HCG injection
But before the sperm is placed inside the woman’s uterus it has to be prepared first as the fluid a man releases usually comprises of seminal fluid and sperm. Meanwhile, the seminal fluid contains different hormones and chemicals including prostaglandin which is one of the chemicals that can spoil the IUI result. Therefore, the sperm has to be separated from seminal fluid, this process is called sperm wash.
How is sperm washed? After the semen is collected, it will be be liquefied and it will become thick the sperm will then be mixed with sperm wash media and placed inside a centrifuge then made to spin awhile until the sperm settles at the bottom and the seminal fluid floats above, the seminal fluid is then discarded. The procedure will be repeated until the sperm is finally ready for insemination.
As for the woman, some symptoms she may experience include nausea, diarrhea, fever, cramps and vomiting.