IUI: Intrauterine Insemination: Definition & Explanation
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a form of artificial insemination that deposits sperm into the uterus during ovulation. A thin, flexible catheter is used to bring washed sperm through the cervix and into the uterus. Fertility medications can be taken for ovulation induction, so that several eggs are released at the time of insemination. IUI is a quick, painless and minimally invasive fertility treatment.
When Is IUI Recommended?
IUI is a common fertility treatment and very often the first procedure that couples or individuals will seek. IUI is an appropriate treatment for couples who have tried to conceive for a year without success, in cases where the male has low sperm count or motility but otherwise healthy sperm, when donor sperm is required or when the female has unreceptive mucus in the cervix.
IUI — Getting Started
If you believe that IUI is right for you, the first step toward getting IUI treatment is to schedule a consultation. During your appointment, you will meet with one of our board- certified fertility specialists, who will help you craft an affordable and effective fertility treatment plan. Our financial counselors will also be available to walk you through our payment plans & insurance options.
The IUI Process
The beginning of your fertility journey can be exciting but also confusing. In order to help you understand what is involved in IUI, we have provided a step-by-step breakdown of the intrauterine insemination process:
- Step 1 — Ovulation InductionOvulation induction is an optional component of IUI. During a natural ovarian cycle, only one mature egg is released from an ovary. Fertility medications can be prescribed to stimulate the production of several eggs in one cycle, which provides the sperm with more opportunities for fertilization.
- Step 2 — Sperm Testing and WashingThe sperm being used in the IUI procedure is analyzed to assess overall sperm numbers and their motility. Unwanted debris and chemicals that are harmful to the uterus are removed from the sperm in a technique called sperm washing, which helps create an optimal environment for fertilization.
- Step 3 — InseminationDuring the artificial insemination, a catheter is placed through the cervix and into the uterus, where the washed sperm is deposited. Once the sperm is in the uterus, fertilization can occur.
- Step 4 — Follow- UpYou will be closely monitored following your IUI procedure and given a pregnancy test approximately two weeks later to test for conception. With expert treatment, attentive care and just a little luck, you will have a positive result. Then it is time to start planning for the new addition to your family!
Possible IUI side effects include multiple births, minor physical discomfort and stress.
Facts about IUI: Intrauterine Insemination
- Originally IUI was developed for livestock; it was later adapted for humans.
- The movie “The Switch” starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman is about artificial insemination.