Preparing Your Body for IUI
What is IUI and Who Should Consider It?
IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination which is a process performed on women who have had trouble conceiving through intercourse. During the procedure a flexible tube is inserted through the cervix, and sperm which has been washed is injected into the uterus. The sperm is washed prior to injection so that all chemicals which could be causing negative reactions in the uterus can be removed. The sperm washing technique gives the sperm a greater chance of fertilizing the egg, especially when the male partner is suffering from unexplained infertility.
Most women who get IUI say there is some cramping involved, however it rates at about the same pain level as having a pap smear. The procedure is performed during a woman's normal ovulation-ideally within six hours either way--so it is likely the cervix has already opened somewhat. If you have been on Clomid and found cervical mucus to be a problem, then IUI can increase the chance of success, even with a partner's low sperm count. The success rates of IUI can range from 5-26%, and the cost ranges from $130-$450 for the insemination procedure alone.
IUI Without Fertility Drugs
Many couples make the decision to first try IUI without the benefit of fertility drugs. This can work well for women who are not suffering from ovulation problems such as PCOS or irregular periods. In order to prepare for IUI your ovulation will have to be carefully tracked by your physician who will use vaginal ultrasounds to get a good look at your ovaries and uterus. You could also choose to self-administer ovulation predictor tests at home; usually once your test shows positive, your ovulation will occur within the next 18-24 hours. Once your test shows positive, you will contact your clinic to schedule an appointment for your IUI.
IUI in Combination with Fertility Drugs
One of the most common drugs to promote ovulation is Clomid; it triggers your ovary follicles, prompting them to release mature eggs which are ripe for fertilization. Most women who take Clomid take one pill for five days in a row when their doctor advises. Once the five pill cycle is complete, an injection of hCG is commonly administered to rev up your system and start ovulation. Ovulation is believed to occur within 36 to 40 hours following the injection, and you will be scheduled for IUI based on this timeline. Many couples do combine IUI with fertility drugs in order to increase their chances of conception.
Preparing Your Body for Conception
Once you've made the decision to try IUI, you should begin preparing your body for the procedure to increase your chances of success. Many women have found that such techniques as acupuncture and visualization can substantially increase the success rate of IUI, simply because it lessens the amount of stress they are under, making their body more receptive. If those types of stress relievers don't appeal to you, then eating a healthy diet is the number one way to prepare your body for IUI. Aim to eat lots of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Work on getting at least two servings per day of full-fat dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cheese, and drink lots of water so your body remains hydrated. Get as much of your protein as possible from lean meats, legumes and nuts, and take a daily multivitamin which contains folic acid. Avoid alcoholic beverages, and limit your consumption of caffeine.
De-Stress Whenever Possible
It is well known that extreme stress is a by-product of trying unsuccessfully to conceive. Unfortunately it is a vicious cycle, as stress begets more stress. Try taking long walks, joining a yoga class or finding a support group to deal with your stress. Whatever method you choose, try your best to relax and visualize your ultimate success and the new baby you will be bringing home.