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IUI (natural or medicated)

by Melissa

Why would you be doing an IUI?

IUI or inuterine insemination is used for numerous reasons. If the woman doesn’t have a partner or her partner is also female, an IUI can be used to impregnant her. It can be used if there is borderline male factor infertility and the RE is worried about motility (this technique places the sperm close to the egg so that they don’t have to swim very far). It can be used if a person doesn’t have enough cervical mucous to transport the sperm up towards the fallopian tubes (you would know if there was a problem with cervical mucous after a post-coital exam). Often times, it is used before proceding to IVF with unexplained infertility. IUIs can either be natural or medicated. Medicated cycles range in invasiveness from Clomid to injectible medications.

What to expect

Protocols differ from clinic to clinic so ask your doctor what to specifically expect when you begin your IUI cycle. We jumped immediately to medicated IUIs with injectibles. Our experience was that drugs were used in the first half of the cycle to assist ovulation and create better eggs (Clomid and Follistim). Two nights before the IUI, we took a trigger shot of hcG at 10 p.m. (the timing is important because you will ovulate 36 hours later). We then showed up at the clinic at 8 a.m. two days later (for instance, trigger on Wednesday night and the IUI was on Friday morning) and deposited a sperm sample. Sperm can be collected at home, but there are guidelines with transporting it to the clinic to keep it viable.

We had a two hour wait while the sperm was washed. When they prepare the sperm, they concentrate the best quality sperm with the greatest motility. At 10 a.m. a catheter was inserted through a speculum and into my uterus. The sperm was then injected through the catheter and we rested on the table for 20 minutes to help the sperm stay close to the fallopian tube.

Problems that may arise and ways to troubleshoot

There aren’t many problems that crop up with an IUI that you can do anything about–it’s all in the hands of your doctor. One word of caution is that medicated cycles should be closely monitored. Blood draws and sonograms should help the RE determine the proper time to conduct the IUI. No one should take follicle stimulating drugs without monitoring (including Clomid).

Also, though it’s very rare, report any pain after an IUI because infections can occur any time a catheter is placed inside the body.

Unsurprisingly, IUIs have a lower success rate than IVF. The rate varies from clinic to clinic and also varies due to other factors such as age or the number of follicles. The decision to try IUI should be made in conjunction with your doctor. On one hand, the lower success rate may mean that it’s not worth the time and money to try it before IVF. On the other hand, IUI is much less expensive and much less invasive. Some religions that do not permit IVF do accept IUI.

Personal tips

I found the IUI uncomfortable only because they had trouble inserting the catheter due to the way my uterus tipped. Ask for pictures of your follicles to keep in case the IUI is a success.


1 Anonymous { 08.25.08 at 1:13 pm }

I just had a natural IUI on Saturday (maybe I should have been in Shul praying) and my husband’s numbers (2 million) weren’t good. I am hoping and praying that it works. We are coming away from a horrible situation (3 months ago we lost our twin girls at 24 weeks who were conceived on our 2nd IUI cycle). Any suggestions for me?

2 Anonymous { 11.04.08 at 12:30 pm }

I wish you the best. I can’t say that I know exactly what you are going through, but I can relate to the disappointments and hurt feelings you are probably experiencing. My heart goes out to you and your husband. I will be doing my first IUI this week and I’m pretty nervous. I have read a lot about IUI so I know what to expect but it is still a very emotional process.

3 Anonymous { 11.13.08 at 4:26 am }


4 Anonymous { 11.14.08 at 1:31 pm }

I had my first IUI on Monday of this week. The procedure itself is not that bad. Just some mild cramping and it was over in less than 2 minutes. Try to relax as much as possible as I’m sure the more relaxed you are the less uncomfortable it feels. It helped when I took slow deep breaths throughout the procedure. I also believe strongly in prayer. I am now doing the 2 week wait and it is killing me.

5 Anonymous { 02.23.09 at 6:38 pm }

I have done the IUI proceedure 4 times now. It is pretty simple really, much like a pap test. The only thing that hurts is when it does’t work… But for many people it does work.

6 B { 04.16.09 at 1:36 pm }

I have had an IUI 3 times now. (Once successful but I had a miscarraige). I recommend taking a book/music with you. Once the doctor leaves you have to lie there for 10-12 minutes and it is best not to lay there worrying.
If you can distract yourself with a book it really helps. Also for the next 48 hours you should avoid strenous activities, and water in the vagina (no swimming, hot tubs or even baths…though showers are ok)

7 H { 11.05.09 at 12:57 pm }

Hi all~
I am currently taking Clomid 100mg (days 5-9) and having u/s on nov 12 to check my follicles and then having an IUI done (if u/s is good!!). This is my 7th time….
Wishes and prayers to all of you…

8 Ty { 04.15.10 at 6:56 pm }

I had a vasecotomy reversal 3 years ago and we tried for a year to conceive naturally with no success. We decided to try an IUI because my sperm count was between 9 and 60 million, depending on the day. We chose to use clomid and injectables and were successful on the first try. We now have a 16 month old son who is perfectly healthy and our true pride and joy.
I know a lot of you have tried and tried with no success but for those who are debating trying I wanted to share a success story to help encourage you. Total cost for us was about $900.

It can and does work, so don’t be afraid to try!

9 mary { 10.07.10 at 9:42 pm }

thank you for sharing so honestly on this website..it really helps my heart to know others are going through similar issues..we are attempting an IUI on Tues the 12th of Oct. and it will be our 1st procedure after 8 yrs of trying..i am almost 36 and apparently my “plumbing” is “old”, but we’ll keep praying! blessings to all of you!

10 Renee { 11.09.10 at 9:39 pm }

IUI was recommended to us as my husband had a vasectomy reversal when he married me (his 2nd marriage). The VR left his motility somewhat low butthe sperm washing done prior to IUI eliminates the poor swimmers and concentrates the good ones. It makes sense and I am hopeful. It’s all about timing. Make sure you can track your ovulation and best of luck. I’m on my 2nd IUI and I’ve heard it’s best to try 3-5 times. 😉

11 Leslie { 11.11.10 at 8:31 pm }

This is my first visit on this website. My husband and I have been trying for over 2 years. We had our second Clomid IUI October 27th so I keep praying not to start my period. Every trip to the bathroom is like “dead man walking” time. Reading all of your stories has inspired me to keep positive and that I am not alone. I will keep you in my prayers!

12 Katie { 01.07.12 at 9:55 pm }

My husband and I did our first IUI with Clomid on new years day. The procedure was very simple, and my only complaint (besides the emotional roller coaster of the preceding weeks with the Clomid, the testing for LH surge, etc) was a very tender feeling in the ovaries areas. I was told this is normal due to how big the follicles can get (we only had two or three on each side, which we thought was good until I read some stuff online… Turns out that’s not so many, huh?). So now we’re in the two week wait and, as I knew it would be, it’s almost unbearable! Its nice to know, for some reason, that there are other ladies out there going through this exact same torture…. Waiting, waiting, reading into every single twinge and feeling, hoping and praying all day every day that this is it! Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone… Especially ones that keep hope alive! This site is very helpful! My husband usually tells me to stay off the Internet (usually leads to tears), but this time I’ve actually laughed out loud and feel more hopeful! Good luck to you all!

13 Anonymous { 03.12.12 at 4:56 pm }

I’m at CD3 after my first IUI (w/ 50mg Clomid) did not succeed. I’ve been temp charting for over a year and have had very regular cycles as far as I can tell, but no pregnancies. Is it possible that my eggs aren’t “good” even though all evidence points to regular ovulation? A couple more tries at IUI is all I can handle before calling it quits.

14 sahna { 07.27.12 at 10:54 am }

iam thnkng of gng to do IUI…..i need to knw that the sperm is collected from where?i mean from another person:|….my husband has infertility problms ..so we gonna do iui…but i dont want some other ppls sperm…so is there any medicated sperm which is created artificial through medicine…???? plzzz help me…

15 Amanda { 01.18.14 at 3:11 pm }

I am about to have my first IUI after almost 6 years of trying to conceive naturally. After the coaxing of friends we finally decided to get some fertility testing done and it seems to be that it is a male related issue. I am praying and hoping for the best. Our doctor only had me take 50mg of Clomid for 5 days and isn’t recommending any other injectables because my cycle has always been normal and I ovulate on my own. It gives me hope to see that the IUI worked for you.

16 Stacey { 02.17.14 at 10:23 am }

What about a section for fertility treatment called “injectables” because I am not doing a IUI or IVF. My RE is putting me on follistim, ganerelix, and ovidrel and is going to do weekly US to check my follicals and is going to tell me and my DH when to BD. I am sure if this doesn’t work then we will go from there.

17 Sarah { 12.28.14 at 2:15 am }

No, there is no such thing as artificial sperm. The sample is either collected from your spouse or donor.

18 Sarah { 10.23.16 at 11:04 pm }

I am currently on my third month of fertility treatments and in my tww of our second IUI. I have endometriosis, ovarian cysts and tumors (as of my last d&c), lost an ovary to ovarian cysts and have dysplasia on my cervix. Doctor told me I don’t have much longer to try and conceive. I found blogging has helped me a lot, if nothing else to share my story of struggle, hope and loss. With my bank account and credit cards maxed out, I have two more tries before I face losing my chance. Nice to see other bloggers out there.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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