Updated: Oct 22, 2021

What is Intrauterine insemination ?

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Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a simple procedure that puts sperm directly inside your uterus, which helps healthy sperm get closer to your egg. It’s also sometimes called donor insemination, alternative insemination, or artificial insemination.

When is IUI used?

The most common reasons for IUI are low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility.

However, IUI may be selected as a fertility treatment for any of the following conditions as well:

  • Unexplained infertility

  • A hostile cervical condition, including cervical mucus problems

  • Cervical scar tissue from past procedures which may hinder the sperms’ ability to enter the uterus

  • Ejaculation dysfunction

  • Couples experiencing infertility due to medical conditions (e.g., endometriosis or low sperm count or quality).

  • Couples with unexplained infertility.

  • Same-sex female couples using donor sperm.

  • Single women wishing to start a family with donor sperm.

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IUI is not recommended for the following patients:

  • Women who have severe disease of the fallopian tubes

  • Women with a history of pelvic infections

  • Women with moderate to severe endometriosis

What you can expect with IUI Treatment

The visit for intrauterine insemination takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is usually done in a doctor's clinic. The IUI procedure itself takes just a minute or two and requires no medications or pain relievers. Your doctor or a specially trained nurse performs the procedure.

IUI is quick and typically painless and does not require anesthesia.

  • You’ll lie on an exam table and your doctor will use a speculum (the same tool used in a Pap smear) to gently open the vagina and visualize your cervix.

  • The sperm will be passed through the cervix and placed into the uterus using a long, very thin tube.

  • You’ll remain reclined on the exam table for 10 to 30 minutes following the insemination.

  • Most women experience little to no discomfort, although some women may experience mild uterine cramping or vaginal bleeding following the procedure.

  • Some practices perform a second insemination the following day.

  • Some practices also prescribe progesterone to take after the procedure and through the early stages of pregnancy if pregnancy is achieved, while others do not.

  • You can take a pregnancy test two weeks after the IUI procedure.

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Wait two weeks before taking an at-home pregnancy test. Testing too soon could produce a result that is:

  • False-negative. If pregnancy hormones aren't yet at measurable levels, the test result may be negative when, in fact, you really are pregnant.

  • False-positive. If you're using ovulation-inducing medication such as HCG, the medication that's still circulating in your body could indicate a pregnancy when you really aren't pregnant.

Your doctor may instruct you to return about two weeks after your home kit results for a blood test, which is more sensitive in detecting pregnancy hormones after fertilization.

If you don't become pregnant, you might try IUI again before moving on to other fertility treatments. Often, the same therapy is used for three to six months to maximize chances of pregnancy.

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