Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure in which washed sperm is injected via a catheter into a woman’s uterine cavity at the time of ovulation. IUI can be performed using the woman’s spouse, partner, or donor sperm. IUI is used for couples that have been trying to conceive without success.
Reasons IUI may be performed:
- A woman has inadequate cervical mucus or a thick cervical mucus
- Decreased sperm motility or low sperm count
- Decreased sperm morphology
- A woman is using donor sperm
- Ovarian stimulation with clomid (clomiphene citrate)
- Ovarion stimulation with gonadotropins (injectable medications)
- Unexplained infertility
IUI procedures may or may not be performed in conjunction with medications. In a natural cycle, an IUI procedure is performed at the time of ovulation. Ovulation can be monitored either using ovulation predictor kits or via an ultrasound in our office. In a medicated cycle, careful monitoring including ultrasounds and blood tests are performed to determine a patient’s response to the medications. Once the ultrasound and blood test results show signs of oocyte (egg) maturity, a human chorionic gonadotropin injection (HCG) is administered to ensure ovulation. An IUI procedure is then performed in the doctor’s office. There is no need for anesthesia, but patients may experience mild discomfort and bloating after the IUI procedure.
IUI is a relatively simple and safe procedure. The average success rate for an IUI cycle ranges from 10% - 20% in one cycle, depending on the patient’s history. Risk of multiple births from insemination may vary from 10% to 20% depending on the type of medications used during the cycle. There is less than a 1% chance of developing an infection from this procedure.