Preparing Your Body For IUI

If you have decided to try IUI, or Intrauterine Insemination, to get pregnant, there's no question that you want the procedure to have the very best chance of success. Therefore you might be wondering what you need to do to prepare yourself before the "artificial" insemination actually takes place.

Each individual case is different and the way in which you prepare your body for IUI will depend on what type (if any) of infertility treatment you have been receiving prior to IUI. To get the right information for you, you must speak to your fertility doctor. What follows below is only a general guide to IUI preparation.

Combining IUI With Your Normal Cycle

Some couples prefer to first try IUI without using infertility drugs. (However, if the IUI is not successful or if the woman appears to be suffering from ovulation problems, for example, PCOS, irregular, or even absent periods, your doctor may advise you to try ovulation-inducing medications such as Clomid.)

To prepare for IUI in combination with your natural cycle, you will need to track your ovulation. Your doctor may do this using transvaginal ultrasound exams, which allow him to view your ovaries and the lining of your uterus. Alternatively, you might want to carry out urine ovulation predictor tests at home.

Just before ovulation, your body experiences a surge of Luteinising Hormone (LH). It is this hormone which shows up in the ovulation predictor test. Ovulation will usually take place between 18 and 24 hours after the test shows a positive result. As soon as your test shows you are experiencing an LH surge, you should call the IUI clinic to schedule your appointment for insemination.

Combining IUI With Infertility Drugs

If you use infertility drugs to enhance your chances of success with IUI, your preparation regime will depend on the type of drugs you are taking. It may involve a combination of pills and injections before the IUI procedure takes place. One of the most commonly prescribed drugs to bring on ovulation is Clomid (generic name: Clomiphene).

Generally, you take one Clomid pill for five consecutive days each month (as advised by your doctor). This triggers the follicles in your ovaries to produce and release mature eggs, ready for fertilization. This helps the IUI process, as it is possible to predict the best time to carry out insemination.

At the end of your cycle of pills, you may be given an injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) to kick start ovulation. If you do take an hCG injection, you'll probably be given an ultrasound exam first to check that your follicles are mature enough to release an egg. Ovulation will usually take place 36 to 40 hours after the hCG is given. Your doctor will advise you on when you need to come in for the IUI procedure.

General Advice

In preparing your body for IUI, just as when trying to conceive naturally, good diet, a reasonable amount of exercise and a healthy lifestyle will boost your chances of success. You need to eat well and cut out smoking and alcohol, and reduce your caffeine intake. Needless to say, any use of illegal drugs should be stopped immediately.

If you are on prescription medication of any kind, make sure that your IUI doctor knows about it. IUI can be a stressful experience. Many women feel they have a lot invested in a successful outcome and it's hard for them not to worry. If this is you, don't forget to keep doing the things in life that help you relax. (Providing your IUI doctor has approved them).

Try yoga, or meditation, or look for a support group online or in your local area. You might want to investigate alternative therapies such as acupuncture or herbal and nutritional supplements (although these should always be discussed with your doctor first).

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