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Who needs IUI?

  • Couples with unexplained infertility
  • Couples with ovulation problems
  • When the male partner experiences erectile disfunction or premature ejaculation
  • Couples using donated sperm

In order to have IUI your fallopian tubes must be healthy and open. You may need to undergo tests or scans to confirm this prior to your treatment.

What happens during IUI?

IUI can be done with or without ovulation induction. If we determine you don’t need help with ovulation, IUI will usually be done between day 12 and day 16 of your monthly cycle. We will give you an ovulation predicting kit to help pinpoint the date of ovulation.

If you have problems ovulating, you will be given drugs called follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) to stimulate the follicles in your ovaries to produce an egg. When one or two follicles have developed you will be given an injection of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) to make you ovulate.

The dosage and timing of your prescriptions are carefully calculated for the optimum chance of pregnancy. There are several ovulation induction drugs available. Your consultant will recommend the drug that is most appropriate in your own situation.

An important part of the ovulation induction process is monitoring. Regular monitoring using ultrasound will ensure egg production is limited and help to pinpoint the optimum time for IUI.

IUI is usually performed 36 - 48 hours after ovulation. Your partner’s or donor’s sperm sample will be washed to remove the fluid that surrounds sperm. Doing this helps to quickly identify the most active sperm which are placed in a small catheter (flexible tube). Your consultant or nurse will insert a speculum into your vagina to gently hold your vaginal walls apart (similar to having a cervical smear test). They will insert the catheter into your womb through your cervix and deposit the active sperm. This process takes only minutes and is usually painless. Some women experience temporary cramping similar to period pain. You should be able to go home shortly after your IUI.

What are the risks of IUI?

As with any fertility treatment there are risks.These will be fully discussed with you before you embark on treatment.

Support through fertility treatment

Each person has a unique reaction to fertility treatment and their journey. It can be an emotional roller coaster and you may have feelings that range from disappointment and frustration to hope and excitement. It’s understandable but these feelings can be unpredictable and upsetting, and can cause tension in relationships. We are here to support you throughout your journey. Our team are trained and experienced in providing emotional support and we have specialist fertility counsellors who can work with you.

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Ashley Hyde, Embryologist at Nuffield Health

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