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IUI 101

By Melanie Blodgett |

football plays There was one vital thing I left off of the list of things you should know before you see a specialist, luckily a commentor reminded me. The best thing to do before you go is to educate yourself. Be ready with questions and try to become familiar with the terms the doctor will be using.

I didn’t prepare myself fully for our first appointment. I thought it would be a somewhat comforting chat about the different types of tests they’d do to determine the problem. What I didn’t expect was the doctor already giving us the option to try an IUI that coming cycle. It was overwhelming because I was unfamiliar with what the IUI process would entail. Once I educated myself more fully, I became a lot more comfortable.

So for those of you who are considering seeking further treatment or who want to understand the process is a little better, I’ll explain it in layman’s terms.

Around day 14, the woman gets an ultrasound to make sure her eggs are maturing properly and are optimal for fertilization. If everything is looking healthy, the couple monitors ovulation and call when a test indicates an LH surge. An appointment is set up for insemination the next day. The sperm is collected and washed two hours beforehand. The sperm is then inserted directly into the uterus. Insemination only takes a few minutes and causes little to no pain.

An IUI’s success rate is less than 30% but it’s a widely used option because of it’s lower expense and a fairly simple process.

I’m curious, has an IUI worked for any of you? I’d love to hear some personal success stories.

Infertile at 29: What it’s like succeeding at everything but IVF

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About Melanie Blodgett


Melanie Blodgett

Melanie Blodgett writes daily on her blog You Are My Fave, which features a mix of parties, projects, and fave finds. She's currently settling into her first home in Denver with her husband Ryan and their baby son Beck. Read bio and latest posts → Read Melanie's latest posts →

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12 thoughts on “IUI 101

  1. El says:

    Two of my friends used iui to conceive their kids. It worked the first time for one friends 2 kids, the other it worked once.

  2. Shelley says:

    I’m an IUI success story! I have PCOS related infertility, and have known I would need help getting pregnant long before I ever wanted a baby. That was good because I was able to start treatments immediately rather than having to ‘try’ for 6 months/1 year first.
    It was 10 months before I got pregnant, but that was only 7 cycles of treatment (5 on Clomid, 2 on injectables). The first 5 cycles were spent at a clinic that never felt right, but I wasn’t enough of an advocate for myself to tell them where they could stick that ultrasound wand and get myself the hell out of there.
    I switched to another clinic, and they said I had to update my MMR vaccine & wait 3 months to try again. Nice that the first clinic was so on the ball about that, right? Once I went back I got pregnant on the 2nd cycle of treatment. Whoo Hooo!
    My IUIs were pain free – all except the one I got from the intern who was just learning the procedure, but even that wasn’t too bad. Not really anything to be concerned about if you’re heading in to this treatment.
    My advice to people going into fertility treatment is to educate yourself. And if your doctor is not working with you in a way that makes you feel proactive & knowledgable, find a new doctor. Be your own advocate. No one cares about you getting pregnant more than you do. And try to resist physically harming all those ‘helpful’ people who keep telling you to “Just relax! It will happen when it’s supposed to happen!”.

  3. Danielle says:

    I had my first child, conceived naturally, at age 38. We then tried for a few years, had a miscarriage in there, and at age 41, decided to give IUI a go. I got pregnant on the first try, much to my surprise. The doctor was doing backflips, and I realize that I was one of the lucky ones.

  4. Carrie says:

    IUI worked for us, on the 2nd try. Unexplained infertility at age 31 after ttc for 18 months. Our daughter is 17 months old now and we’re starting to talk about how long we’ll keep trying before we go back to IUI for another baby.

  5. Laura says:

    We ttc for 2 years before going to a specialist. After months of unsuccessful drug-assisted cycles, I moved to IUIs, and my second IUI worked – I’m listening to my adorable 3 month old crying right now. Love that sound.

    Sending you best wishes!

  6. Elaine says:

    We tried to conceive for some time without success. Tried clomed for 3 months and then went to a specialist and did injectibles and IUI. We got pregnant the first time. I hope that it goes as well for you!

    I don’t know how they determine the 30%. A friend of mine, who also had to have an IUI but with clomed (pills instead of injections), ending up having twins! We have A LOT of friends who have had IUI’s and they have all worked. We were wondering if the percentage is that low, perhaps if the problem lies with the sperm (motility and count) rather than the egg/folicle? I know with each of our friends, the problem was with the ovulation, not the sperm. Since the meds help the ovulation process, we wondered if a study had ever been done based on what the problem is (ovulation issues vs. sperm count/motility issues). We wonder if the success rate for IUI would be higher if the issue is ovulation, as there isn’t much they can do if the sperm count/motility is low, other than just get it as close to the egg as possible.

    Good luck!

  7. gina says:

    We tried IUI 4 times, the last time with an HCG/gonadatropin surge. No dice. But I think it’s part of the process and is definitely a less expensive option if you’re not ready financially or emotionally to do IVF.

  8. Amanda says:

    It worked for me on the 1st try! The drugs had produced two viable eggs, so our chances were good that something might take. However, I was still unprepared and in disbelief when the nurse called to tell me I was pregnant. Even the doctor and staff were all surprised and delighted that it worked so quickly for me. We’re now 9 weeks along with a single pregnancy.

  9. Monica says:

    Melanie- your blog is fantastic to read. It makes me smile and relate to everything your writing. Keep it up please and hopefully you’ll get lucky soon! We’ve tried IUI once so far with no success and this month using Clomid and hoping the 2nd time is a charm. This article is a great one because the doctors’s talk so fast about things and use numbers even when talking about your hormones that you do have to slow them down and ask when you don’t understand something. It’s definitely a learning process, that’s for sure.

  10. Beth says:

    I have done IUI (with ovulation meds) two times. The first time worked– I now have a five year old son. The second time REALLY worked– I also now have two year old quadruplets. That is the additional risk of IUI (at least with meds), there is less control over the process. We had many ultrasounds done along the way. I had one mature folicle and two smaller ones the doc didn’t think would release. Since my quads are fraternal, obviously all three (and a phantom 4th) did release and were fertilized. With IVF, you have control over how many embryos are transferred.
    I tried for years to conceive and wouldn’t change a step in the road!

  11. Lainie says:

    I am 23.5 weeks pregnant with our son, conceived on our second IUI. I was also taking 100 mg of Clomid, monitored very closely, and had our “lucky IUI” on New Years Eve, 12/31/10. I have PCOS and I don’t ovulate on my own, so fertility treatment was a must. I feel so blessed and I hope the pregnancy continues to go well.

  12. Susan says:

    So far I’ve done 3 IUI’s with medication. No dice. I had undiagnosed endometriosis with the first two IUI cycles, so that may be reason they failed. I’m at the end of the third IUI cycle (had surgery between cycle 2 and 3 to remove the endometriosis) and while my AF hasn’t shown yet, the HPT is negative.

    As far as the success rates go, keep in mind that a normal couple only has a 25% chance of conceiving in a given month, so that extra 5% looks pretty impressive now, doesn’t it?

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