Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a standard form of artificial insemination where the sperm is placed directly into the uterus.

IUI is often the “first line” treatment for female infertility caused by ovulation or cervical problems, male infertility, or when infertility medications have failed. IUI is also used in cases of male infertility where the couple chooses to use donor sperm.

Intrauterine Insemination: How it Works

In an IUI cycle, the sperm are collected by masturbation, concentrated, washed and specially prepared, and inserted directly into the uterus using a small catheter.

The female often undergoes an induction cycle using Clomid or follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) by injection to stimulate the development of eggs within the ovarian follicles.

Your reproductive endocrinologist closely monitors the stimulation to control the number of follicles developing and to time the insemination. Reproductive endocrinologists undergo extensive advanced training and are experienced in monitoring and administering these cycles to minimize side effects. Most cases of quadruplets and above are from IUI cycles administered by non-specialists.

Injections are given daily during the stimulation cycle and frequent ultrasounds and estradiol measurements are required.

Approximately 36 to 38 hours prior to the insemination an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin is given. The IUI procedure is performed in your doctor’s office and takes about 5 minutes.

If 3 to 6 cycles of stimulated IUI fail, in vitro fertilization is usually the next treatment option.