Kishori IVF


Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a form of artificial insemination. In this procedure, sperm that have been cleansed and concentrated are inserted directly into the uterus during ovulation. This process aids in bringing healthy sperm closer to the egg as it is released from the ovaries. It’s a widely used fertility treatment for couples or individuals aiming to conceive.


What is intrauterine insemination (IUI)?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination used as a fertility treatment. It involves directly placing sperm into a person’s uterus.

During natural conception, sperm must navigate from the vagina through the cervix into the uterus and then reach the fallopian tubes where fertilization typically occurs. However, only a small percentage of sperm successfully make this journey. With IUI, the sperm is carefully collected, purified, and concentrated, ensuring that only high-quality sperm are used. These sperm are then introduced directly into the uterus through a thin tube called a catheter, significantly reducing the distance they need to travel to reach the fallopian tubes. This enhances the chances of sperm reaching and fertilizing an egg, thereby increasing the likelihood of pregnancy.

IUI is often considered as a first-line fertility treatment before more invasive or costly options. It can involve the use of either the partner’s sperm or donor sperm, and sometimes fertility medications are administered to stimulate ovulation and ensure the release of eggs.

Why is IUI performed?

People opt for intrauterine insemination (IUI) for various reasons related to infertility or family planning. Here are some common scenarios where IUI may be recommended:

  • Cervical mucus issues or cervical problems: If there are difficulties with the cervical mucus, such as it being too thick or hostile to sperm, IUI can bypass this barrier by directly placing sperm into the uterus.
  • Male factor infertility: When there are issues with the male partner’s sperm count, motility, or morphology, IUI can help by concentrating and selecting the healthiest sperm for insemination.
  • Donor sperm usage: IUI is commonly used in cases where individuals or couples require donor sperm, either due to male infertility or if they are single women or same-sex female couples seeking to conceive.
  • Erectile or ejaculation difficulties: IUI can assist couples where the male partner faces challenges in achieving or maintaining an erection, or in ejaculating.
  • Semen allergy: In rare instances of semen allergy, where a person experiences allergic reactions to their partner’s semen, IUI can be a solution as the sperm is processed to remove proteins that may trigger the allergy.
  • Unexplained infertility: In cases where the cause of infertility cannot be identified, IUI may be attempted as a less invasive treatment option before exploring more advanced fertility treatments.

Overall, IUI offers a simpler and less invasive approach compared to other assisted reproductive techniques, making it a popular choice for couples facing certain fertility challenges.

How long is the IUI process from beginning to end?

The IUI process typically spans approximately four weeks, equivalent to a regular menstrual cycle. Here’s a breakdown of the timeline:

  • Initial examination: Before commencing the IUI procedure, you (and your partner) will undergo a comprehensive examination, including blood tests, semen analysis, ultrasound, and other diagnostic tests to assess fertility.
  • Medication administration: Depending on your specific situation, you may be prescribed oral fertility medication for five days or injectable medication for up to two weeks. These medications stimulate ovulation and increase the chances of releasing multiple eggs. However, not everyone requires these medications as part of their IUI treatment.
  • Insemination procedure: The insemination itself is a relatively quick process, usually taking just a few minutes to insert the sperm into the uterus using a thin catheter. After the procedure, your healthcare provider may recommend lying down for around 15 minutes to optimize the chances of successful fertilization.
  • Pregnancy testing: Approximately two weeks after the insemination procedure, you can take a pregnancy test to determine whether the treatment was successful in achieving pregnancy.

By following this timeline, you and your healthcare provider can effectively navigate the IUI process and maximize the chances of a positive outcome.

What is the difference between IVF and IUI ?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) differ in the location of fertilization and the method of conception. In IUI, fertilization occurs inside the fallopian tube, where a sperm sample, prepared by washing to isolate high-quality sperm, is inserted directly into the uterus via a catheter during ovulation. This facilitates the sperm’s journey to the egg, increasing the chances of fertilization. In contrast, IVF involves fertilizing the egg with sperm outside the body, typically in a laboratory setting, before transferring the resulting embryo into the uterus.

Compared to IVF, IUI is generally less expensive and less invasive. However, it typically has a lower success rate per cycle.

Procedure Details

The steps of IUI treatment typically include:

  • Ovulation Monitoring: 

Your healthcare provider tracks your ovulation using methods such as at-home ovulation kits, blood tests, or transvaginal ultrasound. Sometimes, fertility medications may be prescribed to stimulate ovulation and increase the chances of releasing multiple eggs.

  • Semen Sample Preparation: 

On the day of the procedure, your partner provides a fresh semen sample, or donor sperm is thawed and prepared. The sperm is washed to isolate high-quality sperm for insemination.

  • Insemination Procedure: 

The insemination procedure is straightforward and usually takes only a few minutes. You lie down on the exam table while your healthcare provider inserts a speculum into your vagina to access the cervix. Then, a catheter is gently inserted through the cervix into the uterus, and the prepared sperm sample is injected directly into the uterus.

  • Post-Insemination Care: 

After the procedure, you may be advised to lie down for a short period to allow the sperm to travel towards the fallopian tubes. Your healthcare provider may prescribe progesterone to support the uterine lining and improve the chances of implantation.

  • Pregnancy Testing: 

Approximately two weeks after the insemination, you can take a pregnancy test to determine if the procedure was successful.

It’s essential to discuss the specific details of your IUI treatment plan with your healthcare provider to understand the process fully and manage expectations.

What do you do to prepare for IUI treatment?

Before beginning IUI treatment, both you and your partner will undergo a comprehensive medical examination and fertility assessments. This may involve:

  • Uterine Examination: Your healthcare provider will conduct an examination to assess the health of your uterus.
  • Ultrasounds: Ultrasound imaging of your uterus may be performed to evaluate its condition and ensure optimal conditions for conception.
  • Semen Analysis: Your partner will undergo a semen analysis to assess sperm count, motility, and morphology.
  • STI Screening: Screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other infectious diseases will be conducted to identify any potential issues that could affect fertility or pregnancy.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests may be recommended to evaluate hormone levels and overall health, providing valuable insights into fertility status.

Additionally, your healthcare provider may advise you to start taking folic acid supplements, typically found in prenatal vitamins, at least three months before conception or the commencement of IUI treatment. Folic acid plays a crucial role in supporting early fetal development and reducing the risk of certain birth defects.

What can you expect after IUI treatment?

After undergoing IUI treatment, you may experience the following mild symptoms:

  • Mild cramping
  • Spotting for one or two days

Most individuals can resume their normal activities immediately following IUI, as there are typically no restrictions. While discomfort during and after the procedure is possible, anesthesia is not required, and the process itself is generally not painful.

Common medications used during IUI include:

  • Clomiphene citrate (Clomid® or Serophene®)
  • Letrozole (Femara®)
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Prenatal vitamins (recommended for all pregnancies)

However, the use of fertility medications may vary depending on individual circumstances, and your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate course of treatment for you. A pregnancy test can typically be taken around two weeks after IUI to assess pregnancy.

Risks / Benefits

The risks associated with IUI are generally low compared to more invasive fertility treatments like IVF. Some potential risks include:

  • Multiple births: Fertility medications may stimulate the release of more than one egg, increasing the chances of conceiving twins, triplets, or more. Multiple pregnancies carry a higher risk of premature labor and low birth weight.
  • Infection: Though rare, there is a small risk of infection associated with the procedure.
  • Spotting: Some individuals may experience minor vaginal bleeding following the procedure.
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): Excessive use of fertility medication can lead to OHSS, characterized by painful and swollen ovaries.

The most common side effects of IUI include cramping and spotting after insemination. Additionally, the emotional toll of infertility and assisted reproductive treatments can be challenging, leading to feelings of depression or overwhelm. It’s important to communicate openly with your healthcare provider if you experience any distress during the process so they can offer support and guidance.

Additional Details

Can I take any measures to enhance my likelihood of pregnancy with IUI?

To increase your chances of pregnancy with IUI, several factors should be considered:

Age: Age plays a significant role in the success of IUI, with higher success rates observed in younger individuals.

Use of fertility drugs: Depending on your specific situation, your healthcare provider may recommend using fertility medications to stimulate ovulation and increase the chances of conceiving.

Health conditions: Addressing any underlying health conditions that may affect fertility can improve the likelihood of a successful pregnancy with IUI.

Cause of infertility: Understanding the cause of infertility and addressing any factors that can be modified or treated may enhance the success of IUI.

Your healthcare provider will tailor your treatment plan to optimize your chances of becoming pregnant through IUI.

Is IUI better than IVF?

While IUI is generally more affordable and less invasive than IVF, the choice between the two treatments depends on individual circumstances. In some cases, IVF may be recommended over IUI due to factors such as age or the specific cause of infertility. Both treatments have their own success rates and considerations, and your healthcare provider can help you determine which option is best for you.

Can I have sex after IUI?

Yes, it is safe to have sex before and after IUI. In fact, having intercourse around the time of IUI can increase the chances of conception.

"A note from Kishori IVF Clinic"

If you’re facing challenges in conceiving, it’s essential to discuss this with your healthcare provider. Infertility is a common issue, and there are various options available to assist you, including IUI. Your healthcare provider will collaborate with you to identify the most suitable fertility treatment to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.