Intrauterine Insemination, IUI
IUI is a common first line fertility treatment and is usually “stimulated IUI” meaning gonadotropin hormones (fertility drugs) are used to stimulate the ovaries. Most of these patients will require monitoring at our Dallas fertility clinic location. Dependent upon the cause(s) of a couple’s infertility, IUI is often effective. The number of IUI cycles that should be attempted is “couple dependent” and the usual next step after failed IUI is in vitro fertilization.
Please see the section on “infertility treatments” for links to all common diagnostic fertility tests and treatments for infertility.
Intrauterine Insemination Procedure
IUI is a procedure that allows the fertility specialist to deposit specially washed and prepared sperm directly into the uterus via a small flexible catheter. IUI allows the sperm to bypass the cervix, making more sperm available to fertilize the egg(s). Unwashed sperm should never be placed into the uterus as serious, and even fatal, allergic reactions can occur.
IUI is a first line treatment for some cases of mild male infertility. The degree of male infertility is determined using the semen analysis fertility test. More serious cases of male infertility may require IVF with ICSI or even use of donor sperm.
IUI is usually stimulated, meaning that fertility drugs such as Clomid, Gonal-F, Follistim, Bravelle, or Menopur are employed to stimulate follicular development. Stimulated IUI is responsible for most high order multiple births because the exact number of eggs ovulated cannot be precisely controlled. In IVF, a known number of embryos are placed in the uterus, thus limiting high order (three or more) multiple births. IUI cycles are often combined with fertility drugs affecting ovulation. These cycles, especially those employing gonadotropins, should only be managed by an infertility specialist thoroughly trained in the use of those fertility drugs.
Sperm Preparation for IUI: IUI requires the male to bring a semen sample to the Andrology Lab (see Andrology Lab Information or Handout) for semen sample washing. The sample can be collected at home, but preferably it is collected on site in our collection room. Samples are usually dropped off between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. The sample is then processed and concentrated by the laboratory, which takes approximately one-two hours. Thus, the actual insemination usually takes place between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. On average, the insemination procedure only takes a few minutes. Some patients experience minimal cramping during this procedure.