IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) involves placing specially concentrated and washed sperm from the husband or a sperm donor directly into the uterine corpus of the woman.
Most IUI cycles, conducted by reproductive specialists, are done in stimulated cycles, meaning that the female patient receives ovulation inducing drugs, such as FSH or clomiphine. These medications stimulate the development of the ovarian follicles each of which contains an egg. Once the eggs mature, an injection of HCG is given to stimulate ovulation 36-40 hours later. We schedule a single precisely timed insemination around the time of ovulation or shortly thereafter. Patients are monitored throughout the stimulation with ultrasound and estradiol measurements, and physical examination.
The couple returns to the office for the insemination based upon the timing of the hCG injection. Upon arrival a sperm sample is collected from the partner. Carefully prepared semen is then inserted directly into the uterus using a small catheter in a painless procedure.
Two of the major potential risks of stimulated IUI cycles are 1) the potential for high order (>2) multiple births and 2) ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. A reproductive endocrinologist/infertility specialist must carefully monitor these patients in order to keep all complications at an acceptably low rate.