Timed intercourse is a simple treatment to help couples pinpoint their most fertile window. It’s a completely natural approach, and often the starting point of a couple’s fertility journey.
Each month, your body has a menstrual cycle where an egg is released from the ovaries – this is called ovulation. Ovulation occurs (on average) 14 days before the start of your period; however, it’s completely normal for women to ovulate (release the egg from the ovaries) anywhere from 12-18 days before their period starts. Once it is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube, the egg has a maximum of 24 hours to be fertilised.
Sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for 2-3 days waiting for the egg. By accurately predicting when ovulation will occur, we can advise the right time to have sex to give the best chance of conception. For women with irregular menstrual cycles, it is hard to know when or if ovulation is occurring. This makes it tricky to try for a baby. Ovulation induction treatment may be recommended to help you get pregnant.
What is Ovulation?
Each month, your body has a menstrual cycle where an egg is released from the ovaries. Ovulation is when the egg is released. Ovulation occurs (on average) 14 days before the start of your period. It’s normal for women to ovulate (release the egg from the ovaries) anywhere from 12-18 days before their period starts.
What is Ovulation Induction Treatment?
Inducing ovulation using medication (ovulation induction) allows an egg to mature and be released by the ovary. The cycle is tracked with blood tests and ultrasound, to confirm the best time to conceive.
Ovulation Induction Medication
There are two types of medication used to induce ovulation: tablets (oral medication) or daily injections of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). If you are having ovulation induction at the same time as IUI treatment, either type of medication is suitable.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) can sometimes be referred to as Artificial Insemination (AI), a simple treatment procedure aimed to assist sperm in inseminating the uterus. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the simpler, less complex and less invasive treatment options available to you. It is often the starting point for many individuals or couples who experiencing difficulty trying to conceive.
IUI might be the first step in your fertility treatment journey if you:
- Have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility
- Have been diagnosed with mild male factor infertility
- Have scarring of the cervix or other concerns that prevent sperm penetration
- Have irregular or absent ovulation
- Cannot have regular or penetrative sexual intercourse
- Need to use donor sperm
IUI treatment would generally not be recommended to patients who have severe male factor infertility or blocked fallopian tubes or severe endometriosis.
The purpose of IUI treatment is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tube which therefore increases the chance of fertilisation. The technique provides sperm with an advantage by giving it a head start with where it needs to go, but it still needs to reach and fertilise the egg on its own.
The IUI Treatment Process
For this procedure, the fertility specialist will insert a speculum into your vagina to better visualise your cervix.
They will then pass a soft, thin catheter through the opening of your cervix and into the uterus. The pre-prepared sperm will then be introduced to the uterus via the catheter. The procedure will only take a few minutes to complete and can be likened to a pap smear.
You will be able to return to your daily activities as soon as the IUI is completed. You will not require anaesthesia unless you do not tolerate speculum examinations. There is an option to complete the procedure under light sedation if required and this is something you should discuss with your fertility specialist.