Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves inserting sperm directly into the uterus using a thin, flexible catheter. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and increase the chance of fertilization and pregnancy. The procedure may be done in conjunction with ovulation-stimulating drugs.
How IUI works
During an IUI cycle, a semen sample is collected from the partner or from a third-party sperm donor. The sperm is washed or separated in the lab and placed in a fine tube. The sperm are then inserted directly into the uterus through the cervix, around the time of ovulation, using a thin, flexible catheter. The procedure is quick and may be performed in the doctor’s office or fertility clinic, without anesthesia.
Who can benefit from IUI
IUI may be a recommended fertility treatment for:
- Mild male factor infertility: If an individual has a low sperm count or poor sperm motility, IUI can increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes, increasing the chance of fertilization and pregnancy.
- Unexplained infertility: If a couple has been trying to conceive for a period of time without success, IUI may be recommended if no underlying cause of infertility has been found.
- Ovulatory disorders: If an individual has irregular ovulation or is not ovulating, IUI can help increase the chance of pregnancy by placing sperm directly into the uterus during the fertile window.
- Endometriosis: IUI may be recommended for individuals with endometriosis, a condition that can cause infertility by impacting the health of the reproductive organs.
Who may not benefit from IUI
IUI may not be recommended for you if:
- One or both of your fallopian tubes are blocked.
- You are in menopause or have diminished ovarian reserve. This is more common as women age.
- Severe male infertility is a factor —if the sperm count or motility is very low.
- You have severe endometriosis.
It is important to note that IUI is just one of several fertility treatment options available. The most appropriate treatment will depend on the underlying cause of infertility and the individual’s specific circumstances. If you have concerns about infertility and would like to discuss treatment options, it is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider.