Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is the first step in fertility treatment for many couples. It is a less costly and more conservative fertility treatment option with positive success in ideal candidates.

What is an IUI?

Accomplished by placing highly concentrated sperm directly into the uterus, an IUI boosts the chance of conception by increasing the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes.

Who is a candidate for IUI?

For couples with unexplained infertility, IUI is a commonly used treatment option. It is also used for couples with ovulation issues, mild endometriosis, and mild male infertility issues with sperm or erectile dysfunction.

With certain diagnoses, IUI will not be an effective treatment option. If any of the below apply, a different treatment approach will be necessary.

  • Severe damage or blockage of the fallopian tubes
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Diminished ovarian reserve
  • Severe endometriosis
  • Low sperm count
  • Low scores of sperm motility and morphology
  • History of pelvic infection
  • Three or more IUIs have failed to result in pregnancy

The IUI Process:

There is a range of treatment options available to someone considering an IUI cycle. They include a monitored oral medication (Clomid) cycle with timed intercourse, a monitored oral medication cycle with an ovulation induction trigger shot (hCG), or an injectable medication (FSH) cycle and an ovulation induction trigger shot.

  1. If injectable medications are needed, in order to stimulate ovarian (egg) development and prepare for ovulation, the woman is typically given fertility medications for a time period of 5-14 days. While on stimulation medication, regular monitoring via ultrasound and blood test is required. Ultrasound monitoring measures egg follicle growth as well as the increasing thickness of the uterine lining. Blood work monitors estrogen levels, which rise as follicles develop.
  2. Once follicle development and estrogen levels reach optimal numbers, the final medication step is a trigger shot. If medically inducing ovulation, the trigger shot places eggs in the final stage of maturation and begins the ovulation process. Once the shot is administered, the IUI procedure must take place within 24-36 hours.
  3. On the day of the procedure, the male is asked to produce a semen specimen at home or in our office. Men must abstain from ejaculation for two days before producing a semen sample in order to produce optimal sperm count numbers.
  4. In a process called sperm washing, the sperm are separated from other semen components, creating a highly concentrated sample for the procedure. Sperm washing is done in a laboratory and requires no longer than an hour to complete.
  5. For the IUI procedure, washed sperm are placed directly into the uterine cavity using a thin, flexible catheter. The procedure only requires a few minutes to complete.