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Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
When you hear the words “infertility treatment” you might immediately think of in vitro fertilization (IVF). But there are other less invasive infertility treatments that can be tried before ever having to consider a more complex treatment like IVF. For many couples, or for single women who want to have a child, intrauterine insemination (IUI) can be a relatively simple and more affordable alternative to IVF. In fact, every year we perform more than 600 IUI cycles in our clinic. Depending on your age and your diagnosis, insemination can be a successful first (and only!) step for achieving pregnancy.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the process of placing sperm, by artificial means, into the uterus. Sperm is “washed” before being placed in the uterine cavity. First, semen must be processed in the laboratory to isolate high quality sperm from the seminal plasma. Second, a catheter loaded with the high-quality sperm is passed through the cervix and into the uterus so that they can be deposited in close proximity to the site where fertilization of the egg will occur. Donor sperm is used if there is a problem with the male’s sperm or if there is a genetic disease that could be passed on to a child. Single women or lesbian couples also use donor sperm to become pregnant. In most cases, donor sperm is obtained from a sperm bank. Sperm donors undergo extensive infectious disease testing and genetic screening. Donor sperm is typically placed into the uterus (as described in IUI).
To Prepare for an Insemination your doctor may have you take a fertility drug to stimulate your ovaries to develop mature eggs. An ultrasound will be performed to determine when you’ll ovulate so we can time the insemination. Sometimes you’re given medications to induce ovulation. On the day of the procedure, your partner will produce a semen sample that will be “washed” in our andrology lab. After the semen is processed, you will come in for the actual insemination. The insemination procedure takes less than a half-hour and involves very little discomfort.
Generally, the success of IUI ranges from 10-20% per cycle. Success depends on a number of factors, including: female age, duration of infertility and the quality of the sperm. To find out your chance of success using IUI, we encourage you make an appointment to see one of our infertility specialists for a complete infertility evaluation.