In an artificial insemination, sperm is collected from the male partner or secured from a donor. It is "washed," or removed from the seminal fluid, to remove impurities. The sample is processed to select out the motile (moving) specimens, which are concentrated into a small amount of sterile medium. Sperm preparation takes about an hour, so the male should plan accordingly and arrive in time to provide a sample.
The insemination procedure, best tolerated with an empty bladder, takes only 5 to 10 minutes. A speculum is inserted into the vaginal opening. The prepared sperm and medium are placed in a small catheter, which is passed directly into the woman's uterine cavity (intrauterine insemination – IUI). This process maximizes the number of sperm cells that are placed in the uterus, thus increasing the possibility of conception. You may experience mild cramping during the procedure, but it will subside when it is completed.
Many physicians will encourage women to take medications to stimulate the ovaries to increase egg production in order to improve the chance of achieving pregnancy. An ultrasound will be used to monitor the size of the follicles (follicles develop into eggs). The hormone, human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), is administered to stimulate the release of eggs from the follicles.
You will need to rest for 5 to 10 minutes following the procedure and you may be instructed to return the following day for a second insemination. In the meantime, you may resume normal activities but avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. You also will be told when to return to the office for blood work. Progesterone may be prescribed, in oral or suppository form, to provide luteal support if indicated by your blood work. This medication helps prepare the lining of the uterus to accept and support the embryo during pregnancy.
You will be scheduled to return to our office for a pregnancy test approximately 14 days after the procedure. Progesterone, if prescribed, will be taken for 6 or 7 weeks if the test is positive. If you are pregnant, we will continue to monitor you for 3-4 weeks (or until you are approximately 7-8 weeks pregnant). If the procedure is not successful, a nurse will call to discuss the next steps.