Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a simple “bridge” procedure between natural attempts to conceive at home, and the more technical process of IVF.
Intrauterine insemination is kind of like having sexual intercourse timed to when you ovulate. The difference is that it helps bypass any obstacles sperm may encounter at the cervix.
Some examples of when it’s helpful to move sperm past the cervix:
- A woman may have reduced cervical mucus related to previous cervical procedures.
- Erectile dysfunction or other lifestyle challenges may make it difficult for a couple to time intercourse.
- A woman may be relying on frozen-thawed sperm, such as in the case of anonymous donor sperm.
A woman may choose the option of medications such as Clomiphene, Letrozole, or low-dose gonadotropins (like Puregon and Gonal-F) to stimulate her ovaries and increase the number of eggs released; up to four eggs at once.
We’re reluctant to go higher than these numbers, because it puts the woman at real risk for high-order multiple pregnancy. For some patients, anything over two could be seriously risky for their health.
We’re also happy to work with women who prefer to have IUI with a natural cycle (meaning only one egg is produced by her body).
In a future post, we’ll talk about IUI and how to interpret the sperm numbers.