If you’re struggling with infertility, IUI may help! Here’s what IUI is, why it’s necessary, and how long after IUI conception occurs.
If you’re hoping to become a first time mom, but struggling with fertility, IUI may be a great option to try!
Getting pregnant isn’t always an easy process, and it gets harder as we age.
Studies show that the average age of a first time mother is rising.
Luckily, there are several options available to improve your chances.
So here’s what IUI is, the reasons it may work for you, and how long after IUI conception occurs!
What Is IUI?
Before we discuss how long after IUI conception can occur, it’s important to detail what it is and why it’s necessary.
IUI (Intrauterine insemination) is a type of artificial Insemination. Doctors use this technique for individuals experiencing infertility or for those using donor sperm.
The IUI procedure involves collecting, washing, and inserting sperm directly into the uterus via a flexible catheter.
This improves the chances of conception in two ways. The washing process (more on that below) helps improve the quality of the sperm. And the catheter cuts down on the travel time for the sperm to the egg.
Fertility specialists usually recommend IUI treatment before more invasive procedures like embryo transfer through in vitro fertilization
The pregnancy rate for IUI with the use of fertility drugs is about 20%. Which is the normal pregnancy rate.
So individuals and couples with reduced chances can improve their odds up to the typical success rate.
Reasons for an IUI
There are several reasons for IUI treatment. These include:
- Low sperm count or poor sperm quality
- Cervical mucus problems or problems with the cervix
- Erectile dysfunction
- Semen allergy
- Unexplained infertility
- The use of donor sperm
How does IUI work?
1. Sample Collection
IUI conception can’t occur without sperm. So, before the procedure, the male partner or donor provides a semen sample.
The typical fertility clinic offers a private room for collection. Or you might have the option to collect the sample at home.
In either case, the ejaculate must be produced into a sterile sample cup. And you’ll have about an hour to get your sample to the clinic if you decide to collect it at home.
2. Sperm Washing
After the clinic receives the sperm sample, they’ll “wash the sperm”. This process removes erroneous cells and liquids from the sample and discards low-quality sperm.
The result is a higher concentration of good-quality sperm that are most likely to fertilize an egg.
RELATED: 26 Foods That Increase Sperm Count Naturally
There are two methods for IUI conception, and the first follows the woman’s natural menstrual cycle. In this case, insemination is planned around the time of ovulation.
You may be given an ovulation test to help pinpoint when to start the procedure. These tests measure specific hormone levels in the urine.
You can also check for changes in basal body temperature using a BBT chart and thermometer or changes in cervical mucus. If your discharge is slippery (like raw egg whites), you’re most likely in your fertile window.
Following the natural cycle, the ideal window for insemination is 6 hours before or after ovulation occurs.
The other option relies on what’s called a “trigger shot”.
The woman receives an hCG injection which triggers the body to release its mature eggs. This ensures viable eggs are available at the time of insemination.
The ideal window for this option is within 24-48 hours of the shot.
The procedure for IUI is very quick and pretty painless. And some women say it feels similar to a pap smear.
You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down and lie down with your knees apart.
The doctor will then insert a speculum (“duck bill” device), followed by a thin catheter with the sperm.
It takes about 60-90 seconds to insert the catheter and inject the washed sperm. And another 60 seconds to remove the catheter.
After insemination, you may receive additional fertility medications to improve the chances of implantation. Natural and IUI conception requires an ideal environment for implantation.
Fertility drugs like progesterone, for example, can help maintain the uterine lining.
4. Fertilization and Implantation
After insemination, the fertilization and implantation process follows the natural reproductive course.
If successful, the fertilized egg travels down one of the fallopian tubes into the uterus and attaches (implants) to the uterine wall.
Implantation triggers hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) production and signals the body to switch into “pregnancy mode”.
However, if implantation fails, pregnancy does not occur. And 12-16 days after ovulation your period will start.
How Long After IUI Does Conception Occur?
People often use the term conception to refer to fertilization, or when the sperm fertilizes an egg. In an IUI procedure, fertilization occurs just like it does for couples who aren’t using fertility treatments: within 6 days from the time the partner’s sperm was injected into the vagina (or uterus).
Conception can also refer to the overall process of becoming pregnant which includes fertilization and implantation.
Before that hCG levels are usually too low for detection.
However, you can still look out for early pregnancy signs and 7DPO symptoms.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
But here are some common things you may experience;
- Breast tenderness
- Implantation cramping and bleeding
- Mood swings
- Nipple sensitivity
- Vaginal discharge
- Feeling tired
And the most telling pregnancy symptom is a missed period. This is the ideal time to take an at-home test.
If it’s positive, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to confirm the pregnancy with a blood test.
If conception doesn’t occur after IUI, you should still meet with your doctor or fertility specialist. You may be able to start another IUI cycle or discuss alternative options.
RELATED: What to do if you have no pregnancy symptoms after IUI
Things to Avoid After IUI
After an IUI, doctors recommend patients take it easy and avoid stress. This may mean resting more and avoiding strenuous exercise.
You should also avoid alcohol, tobacco, and non-prescription medications. And you should follow this throughout your entire fertility and pregnancy journey.
RELATED: 22 Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy (Plus what’s safe!)
Successful implantation may cause cramping and light bleeding. And you may also experience early pregnancy symptoms like tender breasts, nausea, mood swings, sore nipples, and headaches.
Immediately after an IUI, you may experience mild cramping though this may be due to ovulation.
In the next 6-12 days, the fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tubes and implants into the uterus. And around 7 days after ovulation, you may experience early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, sore breasts, tender nipples, implantation bleeding, and headaches.
You can take a pregnancy test as early as 1-2 weeks after implantation, or for best results after your first missed period.
It’s very unlikely for conception to occur 2 days after IUI. Implantation typically happens 6-12 days after a successful procedure. And you probably won’t get an accurate pregnancy test result until after your first missed period.
The Bottom Line
Here’s the bottom line on conception after IUI:
- IUI is a type of artificial insemination for those experiencing fertility issues or who require sperm donor.
- The pregnancy rate for IUI is about 20% with the use of fertility drugs.
- If successful, conception occurs 6-12 days after IUI.
- It is best to wait until after your first missed period to take a pregnancy test. But, you can look out for early pregnancy symptoms like breast tenderness, headaches, nausea, mood swings, and implantation bleeding.
- If IUI is not successful your fertility doctor may recommend trying again or moving forward with more aggressive methods.
If you’re feeling discouraged, don’t give up, and try not to stress! In many cases, it’s all about timing. Keep working with your doctors to find the best fertility treatment for your unique body and circumstances.
And if IUI doesn’t work, there are other methods and options for hopeful mothers!
If this post was helpful, be sure to check out:
- 12 Fun Baby Gender Predictions for new moms
- The Ultimate List of Gender Reveal Ideas
- 60+ Adorable Baby Announcement Ideas
- The Ultimate First Time Mom Baby Registry Checklist
- Quick Pregnancy Workout Ideas
- 1000 Modern Baby Names
- 3 First Time Mom Books worth a read
Did I answer all your questions about how long after IUI conception occurs? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments!