Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a simple and minimally invasive fertility technique that significantly increases the chance of pregnancy. IUI transfers sperm directly to the uterus to drastically reduce the distance it needs to travel to reach an egg, and to bypass many potential fertility issues.
Individuals in Los Angeles, Tarzana, Bakersfield, CA, and surrounding areas who are considering IUI treatment at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology often have questions about what to expect during treatment. Here we outline the typical IUI timeline, to give patients an understanding of what happens at each stage of treatment.
Fertility Testing: One to Two Months
Before starting IUI treatment, individuals must undergo a full panel of fertility testing. It is important to monitor the patient’s menstrual cycle, measure hormone levels, and get a clearer idea of what is causing fertility issues. With this information we can determine whether the patient is an ideal candidate for IUI, or if they may respond better to an alternate fertility treatment. Usually, it takes between one and two months to complete fertility testing and create an appropriate treatment plan.
Starting Fertility Medication: Day Two to Three of Your Period
If a patient is a candidate for IUI treatment, we will ask them to contact us on the first day of their next menstrual cycle. At this time we will schedule an appointment to start the IUI process. On day two or three of the patient’s period we conduct a few minor tests, including a blood test, to measure hormone levels. Based on these results we prescribe appropriate doses of fertility medication. Any prescribed medication should be taken exactly as directed.
Monitoring Hormone Levels: Five to 10 Days after Starting Fertility Medication
After the patient has been on fertility medication for several days, we schedule another appointment to, once again, test hormone levels. At this appointment we discuss how the patient is feeling, and what types of side effects they have experienced. Based on the information received, we make any necessary adjustments to medication, and schedule the next stage of treatment, which is the trigger shot.
Trigger Shot: Seven to 16 Days after Starting Fertility Medication
The trigger shot is an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that stimulates the ovaries to release mature eggs. The trigger shot is administered by the patient between seven and 16 days after starting fertility medication. Our doctors direct patients exactly when the trigger shot should be given based on hormone levels. It is vital that patients administer the trigger shot in the window given, since we schedule the IUI procedure around this injection.
Sperm Collection: One Day after Trigger Shot
If IUI is being performed with fresh sperm, rather than a frozen sperm donation, a sample must be collected the day after the trigger shot is administered. Sperm can be collected at home, but it must arrive at our office within 30 minutes of collection. The collected sperm sample is washed to create a concentrated sample of active sperm.
IUI Procedure: One Day after Trigger Shot
On the same day as sperm collection, the IUI procedure is scheduled. The procedure is minimally invasive and is completed in a matter of minutes. Using a thin, flexible catheter, the sperm sample is passed through the cervix and deposited directly into the uterus. After a very brief in-office recovery, patients are free to return home and go about their usual routine.
Pregnancy Test: Two Weeks after IUI Procedure
Patients are eager to find out if IUI has been a success, but we strongly discourage against at-home pregnancy tests, since fertility medication can result in false positives. Instead, we schedule a blood pregnancy test two weeks after the IUI procedure. If IUI has not resulted in pregnancy, we discuss with patients their best options for proceeding with fertility treatment.
Learn More about Your IUI Timeline
To learn more about IUI or the other fertility services offered at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we invite you to get in touch with our fertility doctors. Send us a message online, or call our clinic at (818) 881-9800.