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Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

What is IUI?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure in which sperm are washed and placed directly inside the woman’s uterus through a catheter, which may increase her chances of becoming pregnant. IUI is used to treat infertility related to a variety of causes, as long as at least one patent fallopian tube is present. It is also often used as an intermediate level and cost-effective intervention prior to proceeding to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some common diagnoses in patients who undergo IUI include:

  • Ejaculatory dysfunction (including sexual dysfunction and impotence)
  • Severe vaginismus
  • Cervical factor infertility
  • Male factor infertility
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Stage I or II endometriosis
IUI is useful in couples with severe sexual dysfunction. Its advantages in cervical factor and male factor infertility are that sperm bypass potentially hostile cervical factors and the number of sperm that gain access to the uterine cavity is enhanced.

When and where are the sperm collected?

The male partner produces a semen sample by masturbation. Semen can be collected either at home (specimen should arrive at the lab within an hour) or in our hospital.

Does sperm need to be prepared before IUI?

Yes. The sperm are then separated from the seminal plasma, white blood cells, prostaglandins, and other debris which are filtered out during natural intercourse. Preparation takes approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours. Insemination should occur shortly after the sperm has been prepared.

Is IUI painful? How is it performed?

A speculum is inserted into the woman’s vagina and a catheter with an attached syringe, containing the washed sperm, is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The specimen is injected and the catheter and the speculum are removed. It can cause some discomfort, mainly when the catheter is passed through the cervix. Will I be successful with the IUI for the first time? A few cycles of IUI may be necessary before you are successful. Sometimes, doing 2 inseminations back to back (double insemination) in 1 cycle is recommended ,to increase chances of pregnancy.

How soon after IUI can a take a pregnancy test be taken ?

Three weeks after the procedure.

How successful is IUI?

Everybody’s history and response are different. Approximately, natural IUI without medications has the success rate of 6-10%, while IUI with fertility medications are about 10-20% successful.

Are there any risks associated with IUI?

IUI is the least stressful fertility treatment on a woman’s body, especially if the patient is not taking fertility medications. It has a very few associated risks. However, cramping or spotting may occur during or after the procedure.