Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)/Artificial Insemination

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a type of fertility treatment where sperm that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly through a catheter in a woman’s uterus around the time of a woman’s cycle that the mature egg is ovulating. An IUI can be performed with a woman’s natural cycle, with oral fertility medications, or with injectable ovulatory stimulating medications.

When to Use IUI
Artificial insemination may be used in the following conditions:

  • Donor Sperm: Women using donor sperm most often use intrauterine insemination to transfer the sperm into their uterus.
  • Mild Male Factor Infertility: Washing and concentrating sperm and placing it directly into the uterus can overcome sub-fertile men with below average sperm count, mild sperm morphology or motility problems. It is usually not successful with more severe cases of male infertility.
  • IUI is often the first line of treatment for several female fertility issues, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis. While it is not as successful as IVF, it costs less, and some health insurance requires that a certain number of IUI cycles be tried before they will pay for IVF.
  • Unexplained Infertility: IUI is often the first line of treatment for unexplained infertility, along with ovulation inducing medications.
Risks with IUI
IUI is a relatively non invasive treatment and is considered quite safe. However, the greatest risk associated with intrauterine insemination is the risk of multiple births when used along with injectable ovulatory stimulating drugs (Gonadotropins). Most higher order multiples (triplets, quadruplets, and up) are the result of IUI with Gonadotropins.
Success Rate with IUI
Pregnancy rates with IUI are directly related to the woman’s age, and are more successful for younger women. Infertility doctors report that intrauterine insemination is most successful for women who do not ovulate regularly, such as with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). IUI with ovulatory stimulation often restores the natural pregnancy rate per cycle.  The chances of pregnancy per month with timed intercourse is only about 20-25% for women with no fertility issues; therefore, it often takes more than one cycle of IUI to achieve a pregnancy.  Intrauterine insemination is not very successful in older women (38+).

Creating a Family has many resources on Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Here are several we think you will find particularly helpful:

More Creating a Family radio interviews with experts, videos, blogs, fact sheets, and Q and A’s with Experts on intrauterine insemination (IUI) can be found at the icons below.

Image credit: 3D animation of how IUI works

Additional Resources

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Creating a Family Radio Shows on IUI or Artificial Insemination

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Creating a Family Blogs on IUI or Artificial Insemination

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Creating a Family Factsheets, Tips on IUI or Artificial Insemination

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Creating a Family Videos on IUI or Artificial Insemination

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Expert Q and A's on IUI or Artificial Insemination