Baby Talk · Pregnancy

What No One Tells You: IUI with Donor Sperm

Welcome back!

I appreciate all of the positive feedback I received for my first “What No One Tells You” post. I hope you all will find this post just as informative!

In the beginning of our “Let’s Have a Baby” journey, while we were doing various blood tests through the fertility clinic, we began monitoring my ovulation. We ordered the Clear Blue Digital Ovulation Predictor kit– these were easy to read- a circle if you were not ovulating, a blinking smiley face when your LH levels were increasing and a solid smiley face to indicate peak LH surge. I ovulated pretty regularly but we opted to still take Clomid and Ovidrel so that the whole process would be more closely monitored. Clomid is an ovulation stimulant and I took it for 5 days at the beginning of my cycle. I combined this regimen with 120 mg of Black Cohosh days 1-10 of my cycle- you may want to check with your provider to see if they recommend this for you as some studies have shown that it can improve pregnancy rate when used in conjunction with Clomid. Ovidrel is an injection that stimulates release of the egg during ovulation. Once I completed my Clomid dose, I began going into the fertility clinic so they could monitor my follicles.

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Follicles are monitored using a transvaginal ultrasound. Early ultrasounds to confirm pregnancy are done using the same method. The gel-on-the-belly ultrasounds didn’t happen until 9 weeks for me.

Once the follicles reached a certain size, the doctor directed me an exact time to take the Ovidrel shot at home and a time to report for my IUI procedure. I had a training session on how to inject myself in the stomach with the Ovidrel shot, but hoped that Jess would be home to administer the shot. Unfortunately, she was on shift when I was instructed to take the shot- and I decided to have our RN friend Erin administer it because I was a chicken so I drove over to her house at 9:30 at night. Thanks Erin! She was so great that I didn’t even know she had given me the shot- I might even be brave enough to give it to myself if there is a next time!

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We FaceTime’d with Jess at the station while I got the shot

We conceived Logan using a method called IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) where the sperm is inserted directly into the uterus to facilitate fertilization. Once I knew what month we would begin trying, I ordered the sperm from our bank. The sperm is sent directly to the doctor’s office where they handle thawing and preparation of the sperm.

When we arrived to the office on Insemination Day (October 11) we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. At this point I had read multiple message boards of women who had done the procedure before. I wasn’t sure if it would hurt or what to expect due to the mixed reviews. While I hope you are reading my blog, I hope you also take the stories of others you see online with a grain of salt. I was pretty worked up after reading it would hurt, etc. and I had to try really hard to not feel stressed.

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My attempt to remain calm.

To me, the IUI was not painful. The doctor came in with our vial of sperm and it literally looked like a sample perfume vial. Tiny. I could not believe we paid $1100 for such a small amount of sperm. A catheter was inserted into my cervix and the sperm was injected into my uterus. After the procedure I had to lay on the table for 15-20 minutes and let it do it’s thing. Jess chatted me up and gave my uterus a pep talk during that time, which we are pretty sure aided in my successful pregnancy. It is also recommended that you have intercourse within 24 hours of insemination (sorry Mom and Dad).

The worst part of the entire procedure was the wait. We had to wait 2 weeks to take a pregnancy test to see if the procedure had resulted in pregnancy. Our doctor said the chance of us becoming pregnant was about 20% give or take 5% due to the Clomid/Ovidrel combo. Twenty percent, people! We delivered the sperm on a golden platter into the uterus when we knew through ultrasound that an egg had been released and we still only had a 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 shot. It is amazing people ever get pregnant the old fashioned way. Astounding actually.

For us, it was important to wait the full 2 weeks to avoid a false positive that can result from the Ovidrel shot. I still took a test on day 9 to see if the Ovidrel had cycled out of my system yet- and we definitely tested again on Day 12. On day 12, I had returned from a work trip at the Grove Park Inn and came home to an early birthday celebration with my mom and Jess. Jess and I snuck upstairs to take the test and were beyond excited when we saw two pink lines. We jumped around and silently screamed (we didn’t want to tell anyone any news until we confirmed with a doctor and my mom was downstairs). It was ridiculously hard to keep it to ourselves all evening. I woke up the next day and took another test. Another positive. Once I took the second test, I called our fertility clinic who asked me to come in for a blood test. The first blood test showed that I was pregnant and I came in for a second blood test a few days later to see how much my levels were rising (a sign of a viable pregnancy) and they had more than doubled. I was definitely pregnant! One thing that surprised me is that while I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks after insemination, at that time I was told that I was 4 weeks pregnant because they measure the pregnancy using the first day of the last period. It felt weird to be 4 weeks pregnant when I know the seed had been delivered only 2 weeks prior- but that meant two weeks closer to what is now my little Logan. At week 7 the fertility clinic did an ultrasound and we heard her sweet heart beat for the very first time. Once they confirmed that everything looked great, we were released to a regular OB for the rest of our care.

That’s it for the IUI part of our journey. I hope you’ll join me for my next post “What No One Tells You: The First Trimester.”

Have a great day!

-A

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2 thoughts on “What No One Tells You: IUI with Donor Sperm

  1. I was so shocked when I found out how expensive sperm is. I said to my primary care physician, This is ridiculous! It’s every where! It’s going down shower drains every day! And that’s the story of how I made my doctor pee her pants.

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