Womens Health

Making IUI A Success

Tricky Process

Intrauterine Insemination, or IUI, is a very tricky process and so many things have to go right to make it work. One of the main issues is that you will need to be monitored for signs that ovulation is near. This is sometimes done with a transvaginal ultrasound, a machine that helps your doctor to see your ovaries and egg growth progress. At other times, the monitoring process is done at home by the patient, using an at home kit that can predict ovulation by analyzing your urine.

Trigger Ovulation

Just prior to ovulation, the body releases luteinizing hormone (LH). If your ovulation cycle is normal, you can have insemination the day after this surge of LH. However, if you are being treated with medications that help induce ovulation, it's possible your physician will decide to give you an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to trigger ovulation. The insemination will be performed the next day.

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that serves to stimulate egg growth and bring on ovulation. An injection of hCG is useful in the case where women aren't able to grow enough egg follicles. The eggs are released within 30-40 hours after the hormone is administered. Treatment with hCG assures that an egg will be present inside the ovary at the time of the IUI procedure.

Research has shown that the use of ovulation induction agents increases the success rate of IUI by 10%, a significant figure. Ovulation induction agents include clomiphene citrate (Clomid), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), or human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). It's important to note that these agents should not be used in the case where the cause of infertility is unknown. These drugs are useful only in the case where ovulatory dysfunction of one type or another has been diagnosed.

Hostile Mucus

Clomid is the first-line treatment for ovulation induction, since it is inexpensive and easy to administer. Clomid is an oral drug. One of the drawbacks of Clomid treatment is its tendency to thicken the cervical mucus, making it hostile to sperm, so that chances of a successful course of IUI are lowered.  

If Clomid doesn't bring on ovulation, or causes counterproductive side effects, the next line of treatment is the class of drugs known as injectables, because they are administered through injection. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a reproductive endocrinologist to oversee your treatment with these drugs.


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