My IUI ‘homework’

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Today, I had my blood drawn for a blood pregnancy test, and picked up my prescription for doxycyline. This is in preparation for my hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which happens tomorrow morning, all part of the ‘homework’ my doctor gave me to do before we can move on with medicated IUI.

The HSG involves injecting a dye into my cervix and taking x-rays of my plumbing to see whether I have any blockages or uterine abnormalities not visible by ultrasound. This whole process would not do good things for a fetus, which is why I had to take the blood pregnancy test today. There is also a slight risk of infection, hence, the doxycycline.

Since this blog is titled ‘The Infertile Chemist’, I figured it should have some chemistry in it… Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic (so I should be protected against a wide variety of pesky bacterial pathogens!), designed by chemists at Pfizer in the ’60s. More interesting (to me, anyway) is that it was inspired by the tetracycline family of natural products, including the first tetracycline to be discovered – chlortetracycline (aka aureomycin). Chlortetracycline is produced by a soil bacterium called Streptomyces aureofaciens. (Streptomycetes like S. aureofaciens make tons of cool antibiotics and other natural products.) Chlortetracycline is a polyketide, which means the bacterium makes it by connecting together two-carbon units in an assembly line fashion.

Anyway, I’ll start taking doxycycline tonight, and go in for my HSG tomorrow… I’ve read that it can hurt, particularly if one has blockages, so I’m hopeful that everything flows through without too much resistance. On the plus side, I’ve also heard that women who’ve just had their plumbing flushed by HSG have slightly higher pregnancy rates that month, so here’s hoping!

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