Learn How Sperm Washing for IUI Promotes Conception Using Artificial Insemination
When you’re pursuing intrauterine insemination (IUI), an important step occurs behind the scenes in the laboratory. This step is sperm washing for IUI. The process mimics some of the natural processes that occur in a woman’s body before she conceives.
If you need help conceiving, Ovation® andrologists will use their knowledge and skill to make your IUI cycle a success.
Intrauterine Insemination Helps Make Dreams of Parenthood Come True
Before we explore the sperm washing process in more detail, it’s helpful to understand how intrauterine insemination works.
The process of IUI requires a physician to closely monitor a woman’s cycle. As a part of this monitoring, the doctor will pay close attention to the number of egg-containing follicles that a woman’s body produces.
There are two general types of IUI cycles that a woman and her doctor can pursue. The first is a natural cycle, and the other is a medicated cycle.
During a natural IUI cycle, the woman will not take fertility medications. Instead, her eggs will develop naturally. When the woman’s levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) increase, as determined by daily at-home monitoring, she will visit her doctor for her IUI procedure.
With a medicated IUI cycle, the woman will take fertility medications to help with egg maturation. When the time is right, as determined by regular in-office monitoring, the woman will then take an injection of hCG to trigger ovulation. She will then have her IUI procedure.
During the intrauterine insemination, the woman’s doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to inject sperm from her partner or a donor into the uterus through the vagina and the cervix. This gives the sperm a “head start” so that they have a better chance of meeting the egg in the fallopian tube to achieve fertilization.
However, the sperm must go through several steps before it is ready to be used for intrauterine insemination. This is where sperm washing for IUI comes into play.
Our Skilled Andrologists Work to Ensure IUI Success
For an IUI cycle, the male partner or the sperm donor will provide a semen sample. However, the physician can’t inject the sample into the woman’s uterus as is. Instead, the experienced Ovation andrologists must first prepare the semen sample using processes that mimic what happens naturally in a woman’s body.
During natural conception, semen, which contains sperm, is ejaculated into the vagina. The healthy sperm then swim through the cervical mucus. This leaves behind the semen and many sperm with poor motility (movement). The good-quality sperm then begin to swim through the uterus and into the fallopian tubes. This is where fertilization occurs.
To achieve sperm washing for IUI, andrologists use several washes to separate the high-quality sperm from the semen and the sperm with poor motility. Andrologists then resuspend the best sperm in a small amount of fluid that is like the fluids found in the uterus and the fallopian tubes. It is this mix of sperm and fluid that the physician will inject into the woman’s uterus. From there, the sperm will need to travel to the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg that awaits there.
If you have more questions about conceiving with help from IUI, please contact an Ovation partner physician today.