Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is a less invasive procedure. It involves injecting the cell into the female’s womb at the most fertile point during her menstrual cycle. In some cases, this fertility treatment is all that is needed. We also recommend this procedure to single mothers who want to conceive.

IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a relatively simple fertility treatment. It may be done with or without fertility drugs. The procedure itself involves transferring semen that has been washed in a special way directly into the uterus via a thin catheter. You may know of IUI by the more commonly used term artificial insemination (AI). IUI and AI are one and the same.

The Procedure

The procedure is pretty simple, though it’s normal to feel nervous about it. It will be done in your fertility clinic. (You don’t need to go to the hospital for the procedure)

If you’re using a sperm donor, the donor sperm will be thawed and prepared.

If not, your partner will come into the clinic that day with you and give a semen sample. The semen sample is achieved via masturbation, similar to how a semen analysis is done. If your partner cannot produce a semen sample at the clinic, they may have the option of using a sterile home collection kit. Keep in mind that for this method, he will need to get the sample to the office within an hour of collection, and it must be kept at body temperature until he gets there.

If your partner is unable to masturbate for cultural or religious reasons, there are collection kits that align with these needs. If your partner will be out of town, or if he had difficulty providing a sample in the past, he might be able to provide the semen sample before IUI day. In this case, if the sample is frozen until it’s time to thaw it out and be prepared. Semen contains more than just sperm. Your doctor will put the semen through a special “washing” procedure that removes impurities, leaving only what’s needed for conception.

For the procedure itself, you will lie down on a gynecological table, similar to the ones used for your yearly exam. A catheter—a small, thin tube—will be placed in your cervix. You may have some mild cramping, similar to what you might feel during a pap smear. The specially washed semen will then be transferred into your uterus via the catheter. Then the catheter is removed, and you’re done!

Your doctor may suggest you remain lying horizontally for a short while after the procedure, or you may be able to get up right away. In either case, you don’t need to worry about the sperm falling out when you stand up. The sperm are transferred directly into your uterus. They aren’t going anywhere but up, to a (hopefully) waiting egg!

What to Expect Post-Procedure

After the IUI procedure, you may be prescribed progesterone. This is usually taken via a vaginal suppository. About a week after the IUI, your doctor may order blood work. He will check your progesterone levels, estrogen, and (maybe) hCG levels. Your doctor may order a pregnancy blood test ten to 14 days post-IUI, or they might have you take an at-home test.