Preparing for Your IUI

You will follow a fairly simple process if you choose to do intrauterine insemination. You will be monitoring your body for ovulation, either at home or at your clinic. When you are about to ovulate, the staff will tell you what further instructions you need. This will likely be a time for your partner's sperm sample to be given. You will be asked to come in a bit after your partner has made his donation of sperm. If you are taking medication, you will be instructed when to return to the office for your insemination based on your monitoring results.

The insemination usually takes place within the doctor's office or the fertility clinic. It does not require anesthesia. IUI is a fairly easy process that involves the placing of washed sperm into your uterus. Your partner will either bring in the sperm from home or produce it in the office. Once given to the lab, the andrologist will wash and prepare the sperm for your insemination. This process can take up to thirty to forty-five minutes, depending on the volume of patients within the lab. Make sure to clarify with your clinic about whether you should arrive with your partner and wait for the sperm to be washed, or if you can come back to the clinic at a later time in the day when you won't have to wait.

Intrauterine insemination

Most women describe the feeling of the insemination to be that of a regular pap smear. After the washed sperm is placed inside the uterus, you will then lie on the examination table for about fifteen to twenty minutes to prevent any possible seeping of the sperm and its medium from the uterus. This is done largely as a comfort measure, as the cervix closes back down after the catheter is removed.

Why do I feel moist afterwards, if it's not sperm leaking?

The moisture you feel could be from cervical mucous being released by the procedure. Remember the procedure is timed so that it's done right around the time of ovulation, when increased mucous is often noted.

Once the sperm is ready to be inseminated, you will be escorted to an exam room and given a gown to put on. You will be asked to lie back on the exam table and a speculum will be inserted into your vagina so the practitioner can see your cervix. The cervix will be cleaned and prepped with a mild solution. A very small catheter will then be placed through the cervix and into the uterus. Once in place, the sperm will be injected through the catheter.

Most women report only the discomfort of the speculum being inserted, though some women do complain of mild cramping when the catheter is actually being passed through the cervix. This pain is usually very mild and brief. Your doctor may be able to recommend a mild pain reliever before or after the procedure to help minimize any discomfort. Tylenol is usually okay, though make sure to check with your doctor before you take anything.

If you are having intracervical insemination, the nurse practitioner will place the washed sperm near or just inside the cervix for dispersal. Sometimes a device similar to a cervical cap or diaphragm is used to hold the semen sample next to the cervix. You will be asked to lie there for a few minutes. If a cap was used, it may stay in place for the remainder of the day, depending on your clinic's protocol.

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