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IUI - Intrauterine Insemination

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure which involves injecting sperm into a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization.

What is IUI?

IUI is a fertility treatment used to increase the number of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes, therefore increasing the chance of fertilization.

How is IUI performed?

IUI may be performed both during a natural (unmedicated) or medicated cycle. During a medicated cycle, the woman receives drugs to help stimulate the ovaries & encourage egg production.

Ultrasound is generally used to monitor the size of the follicles that will later develop into eggs. hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin), is given to stimulate the release of the ripe eggs from the follicles.

The male partner's semen sample is processed using a centrifuge in order to separate the semen from the seminal fluid.


A catheter is used to inject the washed sperm directly into the uterus. This process maximizes the number of sperm cells that reach the uterus and fallopian tubes and thus increases the possibility of conception.

The IUI procedure is quick and is usually painless.

IUI is performed when...

  • A couple has been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for unknown reasons (generally for a full year)
  • Tests have shown problems with the sperm such as a low sperm count or poor sperm motility
  • Donor sperm is being used
  • The woman has a "hostile cervix" (e.g., cervical mucus is too thick to allow the passage of sperm)

How do I prepare for IUI (aside from medication)?

No special preparation is necessary, beyond that of any woman who is trying to conceive. Here are some tips that might help make you more comfortable:

  • Take a shower in the morning & if you care about having shaved legs - shave them. It's one less thing to think about when you're going through the procedure (and, let's face it, it's hard to help being self-conscious).
  • Take a small package of baby wipes with you.
  • Take something to keep you busy while you wait - a book, magazine, mp3 player, crossword puzzles, etc.

What are the success rates with IUI?

Average success rates for IUI are 10-20% per cycle.

Does anyone really get pregnant on the first cycle?

Actually, yes :-), but since it frequently takes more than one cycle of intrauterine insemination to conceive, you hear more stories about women who tried many times than about those who got pregnant the first time.

Is IUI painful?

Generally IUI is no more uncomfortable than a regular internal exam. If your cervix is tilted, it may be slightly more difficult for the doctor to insert the catheter. Most women report IUI as being completely painless.

Can we have sex after IUI?

Yes. Sexual intercourse after IUI is encouraged.

Will sex after IUI harm my chances of conceiving?

Absolutely not. It's safe to have sex after IUI.

Is it OK to have an orgasm after IUI?

Yes. Having an orgasm does not have a negative effect on the success of your treatment.

How soon after IUI can I know if I'm pregnant?

Frequently, ovulation is induced using medications containing hCG - human chorionic gonadotropin. This means that testing early (after less than 14 days from the time of the injection) can give false positive results.

It's common to be overly aware of every little twinge (my breasts are sore... or are they... I feel nauseous, etc.) This is why this period is commonly known as the two week wait or 2WW.

Wait two weeks to test - by then, the hCG is out of the system and the pregnancy test (regardless of if it is blood or urine) will be fairly accurate and conclusive.

Feel free to see our "tips for surviving the two week wait"... and, most importantly - Good luck!

Related Stories:
Rachel's story (success with IVF & FET)
Nikki's story (conceived naturally after failed IUI)
Karen's story (conceived naturally after failed IUI)
Kristy's story (conceived w/IUI but miscarried)
Tanya's story (multiple failed IUI's - male factor)
Janah's story (conceived with IUI, using IVF protocol)
Helen's story (success with IVF/FET)
Kelly's story (multiple failed IUI's - male factor)
Victoria's story (conceived from first IUI)
Ruby's story (just starting IUI)
Sandra's story (right after IUI)
Cynthia's story (right after IUI with donor sperm)
June's story (just starting IUI)
Michaela's story (failed IUI's - tilted cervix + male factor)
Barbara's story (failed IUI's - secondary infertility + endometriosis)
Mia's story (two failed IUI's, moved on to IVF)
Josephine's story (IUI w/varicocele)
Tammy's story
Anna's story (failed IUI w/donor sperm, now pregnant via IVF)
Sandy's story (failed IUI's, unexplained infertility)
Awilda's story (failed IUI's, starting new cycle)

 

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