IUI combines ovulation induction with introduction of purified semen into the uterus on the day of ovulation.
Ovulation induction involves low dose FSH injections (rather than Clomid) and follicle tracking scans and an hCG trigger are employed – exactly as in OII cycles. As in OII cycles is it not safe to proceed if more than 2 preovulatory follicles develop, due to the risk of multiple pregnancy.
IUI treatment is often recommended as a first line treatment when a couple’s fertility difficulties are unexplained (i.e. the results of all tests are normal).
A typical IUI cycle takes place as follows:
- The woman attends the clinic for a base line scan (on cycle day 1 or 2 or up to 10 days before the start of the period) to make sure that no temporary cysts are present which could interfere with treatment.
- She starts low does FSH injections on cycle day 2 (1 injection per day) and continues these injections until advised to stop.
- She attends for a follicle tracking scan on cycle day 9 – further scans may be necessary depending on how quickly the follicle(s) starts growing.
- Once the follicle is 18mm in diameter a hCG trigger is administered.
- The couple attend the clinic the following day and the man produces a semen sample which is processed in order to produce a much smaller preparation of highly purified and motile sperms.
- This sperm preparation is introduced into the uterus using a soft, flexible plastic catheter (fine tube); the experience for the woman is similar to that of a smear test.
- Two weeks later, a pregnancy test is carried out.