Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is considered one of the earliest forms of intervention for couples with difficulty trying to conceive.
It is also one of the most common methods used for lesbian couples starting a family.
IUI is the placement of sperm directly into the uterus. The sperm is “washed”, and put in a sterile fluid, and then injected through the cervix into the uterus. It is common for patients to take medication prior to the IUI to stimulate the production of eggs in preparation for the introduction of the concentrated sperm.
There may also be a “trigger shot”, or injection of hormones, timed near the IUI in order to provoke the body into releasing the egg(s).
Is IUI the right option for me?
IUI is generally less invasive, more cost-effective, and more “natural” since the egg and sperm have the opportunity to fertilize inside the body without interference. IUI is more effective as an intervention than timed intercourse in cases of male factor infertility.
It is also a useful tool for cases of unexplained infertility, although it should be noted that a thorough evaluation is important before making decisions about fertility treatment options.
IUI might be an option to consider if:
You have been trying to conceive for 6 months or more
You have a low sperm count
You have poor sperm motility
You have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”
You want to try something before advancing to or thinking about IVF
How can acupuncture increase the chances of IUI working?
Acupuncture increases blood flow to the ovaries. The increased flow optimizes the delivery of nutrients to nourish the eggs. Acupuncture also helps to ensure the ovaries respond well to the stimulation medications.
Acupuncture supports egg development and increases blood flow to the uterus.
By increasing blood flow to the uterus, acupuncture treatment during an IUI cycle ensures the endometrial lining is as hospitable as possible for the implantation of the embryo. Blood flow brings with it nutrients and plumps the uterine lining to be thick enough to support implantation.
In preparation for your IUI, your acupuncturist will:
Assess your overall health
Talk with you about how you are feeling and what steps you have already taken to support conception
Assess your reproductive health from a perspective of East Asian Medicine
Talk with you about your diet and lifestyle
Talk with you about possible support from herbs and/or supplements
Explain your acupuncture treatment plan
How many acupuncture treatments will I need when undergoing an IUI cycle?
By committing to weekly treatments, your acupuncturist is able to support you through each stage of your hormonal cycle – from menses, through ovulation and the implantation stage. Sometimes we suggest increasing the frequency of treatment right around the time of the procedure if we think that it would be beneficial.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture should not be painful at all. Acupuncturists are trained to insert sterilized, hair-thin needles into the skin in a way that can be hardly perceived. Sometimes it may feel like a mosquito is biting at most.
Receiving an acupuncture treatment for IUI is typically a very relaxing experience, one that induces many patients to fall asleep, or experience a deep sense of rest and relaxation.
How do I learn more?
If you are interested in learning if acupuncture is right for you in your fertility journey, we invite you to schedule a free online consultation to meet with a fertility specialist and discuss if we can help.
If you are ready to make an appointment, you can schedule your acupuncture treatment here, or call the office at (408) 279-9001.