Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Dr. Marc Kalan and Dr. Nurit Winkler of the Los Angeles Reproductive Center are experts in all forms of fertility medicine including artificial insemination. A common treatment used by Drs. Winkler and Kalan is called an intrauterine insemination, or IUI. During an IUI, specially washed sperm is injected into the uterus at a specific time in the cycle.
IUI is a common practice in fertility medicine, often representing the initial step of treatment. IUI can be useful in a variety of clinical situations.
Mild Male Factor
During sex, a majority of sperm die before reaching the uterus. Thus, for mild to moderate deficiencies in sperm count, motility or semen volume, natural conception can be inhibited. IUI bypasses the vagina and cervix, providing the sperm a shorter and more hospitable route to the fallopian tube (where fertilization naturally occurs).
When natural conception does not occur despite normal sperm, eggs, fallopian tubes and uterus, the diagnosis of unexplained infertility is applied. While highly frustrating, because a specific cause cannot be identified, the ultimate prognosis for unexplained infertility is quite good! Often the initial treatment for unexplained infertility involves stimulating growth and ovulation of multiple eggs in the ovaries accompanied by a properly timed IUI. This combination treatment increases the chance for conception four to five times more than what it would be with just natural intercourse.
For individuals or couples who utilize donor sperm, IUI is a safe, simple and expeditious way to become pregnant. Donor sperm can be obtained from a known donor, such as a friend or non-blood relative, or purchased from a sperm bank. An IUI is then performed based on the female patient’s natural or stimulated ovulation.
At the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, patients seek treatment with IUI for other reasons as well including: Logistical considerations, such as when a partner’s travel schedule interferes with properly timed intercourse. Also in cases of sexual dysfunction, when complete intercourse is not possible for medical, psychological or social reasons.
Steps for an IUI
The steps involved with an IUI are relatively simple. The more difficult aspect of the process is determining the appropriate time for the IUI. Fortunately, the specialists at Los Angeles Reproductive Center, Dr. Nurit Winkler and Dr. Marc Kalan, have years and years of experience determining the right time to perform an IUI. Once the time is determined the following steps ensue;
- Sperm is prepared. If fresh sperm is utilized the male partner, or donor, produces a sample which is washed and concentrated. If frozen sperm is being used, it is thawed and prepared.
- Sperm source is confirmed. Once the sperm is ready, the labeled specimen is brought to the procedure room and the source is confirmed by the patient(s).
- Ultrasound is performed: Prior to insemination, the doctors at Los Angeles Reproductive Center perform an ultrasound to determine two things. One, if ovulation has occurred and two, the path of the cervix.
- Cervix identified: Similar to a pap smear a speculum is used to access the cervix
- Catheter inserted: Using years of experience and technical precision, Dr. Kalan or Winkler will gently insert a sterile catheter through the cervix into the uterus
- Sperm is injected: Connected to the catheter is a small syringe which contains the sperm. The plunger of the syringe is gently depressed, causing the sperm to pass through the catheter and into the body of the uterus.
- Rest: Following the IUI, patients rest in a reclining position for 10-20 minutes before getting up and going along their day.
- Pregnancy test: 14 days after IUI, is time for a pregnancy test. The staff of LARC instruct patient on when and how to get the appropriate test.
Intrauterine insemination is a reasonable and effective treatment for specific patients. To determine if IUI is right for you, call one of the world class fertility specialists at Los Angeles Reproductive Center at (818) 946-8051. Dr. Nurit Winkler or Dr. Marc Kalan will be happy to speak with you and help you on your way to building or expanding your family!