In order to succeed, the "timing" of the IUI procedure is critical. What does this mean? The IUI procedure consists of implanting sperm directly into a woman's uterus in order to increase the chances of fertilization and pregnancy. Therefore, IUI must take place when an egg or eggs are present - that is, during a woman's "fertile period."
What is the Best Time for IUI?
There are two ways to time the IUI procedure, and your doctor will help you decide what is best for you, depending on your specific case and the cause of infertility. The first approach makes use of a woman's natural ovulation cycle, while the second approach uses injected medication to control the timing of ovulation in order to schedule IUI at the most opportune time.
Natural Cycle Timing
In order to succeed, the IUI procedure must take place when ovulation is imminent or shortly afterwards. Women who are not using fertility drugs must keep track of their natural monthly cycle in order to determine when they are ovulating. IUI procedures that are based on the body's natural LH surge should be scheduled between 24 to 36 hours following ovulation. (Note that once an egg is released, it remains viable for only 24 hours).
In general, referring to the first day of a woman's period as Day 1, IUI is performed between Day 12 and Day 16 of the monthly cycle. In order to pinpoint the time of ovulation more accurately, women are provided with an ovulation predictor kit, which utilizes a urine test to determine if they are about to ovulate. When the ovulation kit turns positive - that is, after positive urine test - this indicates that ovulation is imminent, and women are advised to schedule their IUI for the following day
Fertility Drug Injection Timing
The second approach to IUI timing is the use of an injected medication called hCG to stimulate ovulation - the production of eggs for fertilization. First an ultrasound scan is used to determine if a woman's follicles are mature enough to release an egg. If so, an hCG injection is administered to trigger the egg's release. Finally, IUI is scheduled between 24-48 hours later, the time after which women typically ovulate following hCg injections.
Note that although 36 hours has been the traditional timing period for IUI post-hCG, some clinics are reporting good results after 24 hours, while others are citing better results at 40-42 hours post-hCG.
When two IUI procedures are scheduled, they should be spaced at least 12 hours apart, and between 24-48 hours after hCG injection.
Insemination Process Timing
Once the man's sperm have been processed and prepared, the actual insemination process takes only minutes. While it is not painful, some women experience some discomfort and cramping for about 12-24 hours following the procedure.
Once the IUI process is completed, women can go home the same day and resume their normal activities.