IUI Treatment

Natural Support for Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

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Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

If you are experiencing difficulties getting pregnant, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) may be on your fertility treatment radar. Once known as artificial insemination, it is less invasive and less expensive than In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

The process involves depositing sperm directly into the woman’s uterus using medical assistance — known as Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART). The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and improve the chances of fertilization, and subsequently, conception. It may be used as fertility treatment for the following conditions:

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If you have unexplained infertility

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Overall chances of conceiving

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Fertility treatment outcomes

 

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If you are using donor sperm to conceive

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Complications during pregnancy

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The health of your future baby

 

Improving Your Fertility Treatment

Like any fertility treatment, IUI works best if you engage in a pre-treatment plan for optimal egg and sperm quality. Known as preconception healthcare, this is our speciality at Conceive Health. Our team of natural fertility specialists work closely with your medical team, incorporating a multitude of tools and techniques to support your path to parenthood — including timed acupuncture around your treatment to improve blood flow, decrease stress levels, reduce uterine contractility and maximize conception rates. This is done on-site at any of our fertility clinic locations across the Greater Toronto Area.  

The Treatment Process

The following steps outline what you can expect if you are undergoing IUI treatment.

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Step 1: Regulate Your Cycle

Your medical team will monitor your natural menstrual cycle (no medications to stimulate the ovaries) or a cycle which incorporates fertility medications. They will check your hormone values, follicle counts and development, ovulation and endometrial lining to determine the best timing for your IUI treatment.

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Step 3: Sperm Washing

Your medical team prepares the sperm in the laboratory during a process called “sperm washing.” This is to ensure that the most viable sperm are used for insemination, which can influence the chances of success during the IUI procedure. Note: donor sperm is usually ‘pre-washed’ so this step is not needed.

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Step 5: Pregnancy Test

Approximately 2 weeks after the IUI treatment (known as the “two-week wait”), you will have a blood test to determine your HCG levels and find out if you are pregnant. If the test is positive, then your first ultrasound scan will be done two weeks later. If the test is negative, you will speak with your medical team about future options and decide whether you are a candidate for in vitro fertilization or an alternative fertility treatment.

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Step 2: Ovarian Stimulation

Your doctor may combine IUI with ovarian stimulating drugs to maximize the chances of conception. Medications may include Clomid (clomiphene citrate), Letrozole (Femara) and/or Oviderel/hCG — however each patient case is unique, based on your hormonal and medical profile.  

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Step 4: IUI Treatment Day

Careful monitoring will ensure that the IUI procedure coincides with your ovulation. Then the medical team will place the sperm into the uterus using a catheter or thin flexible tube.  This precision technique ensures that a larger number of quickly moving sperm will reach the egg.. Your doctor may follow this by administering progesterone (via injection or vaginal suppository) to support conception.

Preconception Care for IUI Treatment

Clinical outcomes for IUI treatment are largely influenced by the health of both partners prior to conception. At Conceive Health, we believe that preconception care is the key to success. For best results, this should be started a few months prior to either IVF or IUI treatment.

We help patients prepare for their treatment by optimizing egg and sperm quality — before the process even begins. Our multi-faceted approach supports follicular growth, endometrial lining and eventual implantation. As your fertility partner, we are also an extra point of contact before and after your treatment so that you have support throughout  your fertility journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).

Does Intrauterine insemination (IUI) hurt?
  • Most women experience little to no pain during IUI.
Are there side effects with IUI treatment?
  • A small percentage of women may experience mild cramping. Severe side effects like infections, which can occur with any medical procedure, are very rare.

    Any side effects are often attributed to the fertility drugs taken during the IUI cycle, not the procedure. These are temporary and may include bloating, mood swings, nausea, pelvic discomfort, headaches and others. They are usually mild and disappear when the medication is stopped. Your naturopathic doctor at Conceive Health can also work with you to minimize side effects and reduce potential complications.

What is the success rate of IUI?
  • The success rate for IUI treatment on the first attempt depends on multiple factors, including:  age, cause of infertility, whether fertility drugs were used and other reasons. On average, a woman under 35 will have a 10 to 20 percent chance of pregnancy with each IUI, while someone over 40 will have a two to five percent chance. At Conceive Health, we incorporate specific preconception care protocols into your treatment plan to improve your chances of achieving your dream of having a child.
What vitamins are good for IUI treatment?
  • Your Conceive Health naturopath will work with you to help you prepare for IUI  and ensure you are taking supportive nutrients. Typically, your preconception program will continue throughout your IUI cycle until you are pregnant. We may add in particular vitamins, minerals or herbs, depending on your response to medications and cycle monitoring results. Note that this is case-specific.

What should I be eating to prepare for IUI?
  • A whole food diet, no processed food. There is evidence that caffeine and alcohol consumption can have an impact on cycle outcome. Hydration is key. Lean protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables — all the colours of the rainbow.
When is IUI treatment acupuncture performed?
  • Day 3-11: it is performed to regulate FSH levels and boost blood flow to support growing follicles and thicken endometrial lining.
  • Day11- 14: it is done pre-ovulation or retrieval to improve blood flow and thicken endometrial lining.  day:to decrease stress, improve blood flow and reduce contractility of the uterus.
  • 7 days post ovulation /IUI to support implantation rates, and stress support for the 2 week wait.

What People Are Saying …

“Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald is an essential member of my health team. I first came to Jennifer as I was looking for a more integrated approach combining nutritional supplementation and acupuncture with standard medical protocol. I quickly became impressed by the scope of her expertise. Generous with her time and knowledge, she is extremely insightful and easily answers questions. In a complicated and stressful scenario, Dr Fitzgerald is personable, caring and a calming influence. I couldn’t imagine doing this without her by my side.”

Jen Georgopoulos

Patient and Proud Parent

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