The intrauterine insemination (IUI) for fertility is performed by inserting a thin flexible catheter via the cervix. Washed sperm in the catheter is injected into the uterus after ovulation occurs. The swim-up method may also be utilized. With this type of technique, a special culture medium is positioned above the semen inside of a test tube, allowing the quality sperm to swim up.
On occasion, more than one treatment is necessary to be successful. The treatment is rather quick, usually only requiring a few minutes in the physician's office. Laying down after the procedure is not necessary, but many women prefer to lay down for about 30 minutes after. It is usually compared to a pap smear test, being relatively painless with slight discomfort. Side effects can occur such as some bleeding and spotting, multiple pregnancies, infection, damage to the cervix, or ovarian hyper stimulation if fertility medications are used.
Cramping and IUI
Many women wonder if cramps are a normal side effect with an intrauterine insemination. Cramping is the most common side effect of this fertility treatment, and can occur during or after the procedure. If the cervix is harder to reach, there could be more after-cramping than usual. This symptom will usually only last a day or two, and is moderate. Some pain medication can help, but it is important to discuss with the attending physician before taking any type of drug or pain management, as some medications may interfere with implantation. Fertility drugs can cause more risks, but with regular monitoring, the short-term side effects are normally manageable for fertility treatment.