The Step-by-Step IUI Guide
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) — also known as artificial insemination — consists of a series of simple steps that many women and couples choose as a first fertility treatment for pregnancy. This is because IUI is a nonsurgical procedure that takes only a few minutes to perform. You might opt for IUI if:
- You face female or male infertility challenges
- IUI will be performed with sperm from a man who is not the woman’s partner (also called donor insemination, or DI, and a popular choice with single women and same-sex female couples)
IUI versus IVF
Many people have questions about the difference between artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The main difference is in where fertilization occurs: inside or outside the body. With IUI, fertility specialists simply place sperm in the reproductive tract. During IVF, the gametes (sperm and egg) are combined (forming an embryo) outside the body in a laboratory setting. The embryo is then placed in the uterus for implantation and gestation.
It’s important to note that if you opt for IUI but do not successfully become pregnant, your prognosis for successful IVF does not diminish. Before choosing IUI or IVF, it’s a good idea to weigh your options with an expert reproductive physician and plan your informed path to pregnancy.
IUI: Five simple steps
This commonly used fertility treatment — which bypasses the cervix and places specially prepared and “washed” sperm in the woman’s uterus during ovulation — is a pretty straightforward procedure that occurs in just five simple steps:
- Sometimes, fertility drugs are administered to stimulate follicle growth (as needed).
- The growth of follicles is monitored through blood tests (to help reduce the risk of multiple births).
- The patient is given an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone to induce ovulation.
- A sperm sample is provided by the male partner, prepared for IUI, and injected with a very fine catheter into the patient’s uterus (mild cramping may occur).
- Pregnancy testing and early ultrasound monitoring are performed at the appropriate time.
All in all, IUI takes only a few minutes over the course of a woman’s monthly cycle. It requires a minor time commitment and is minimally invasive.
Are you ready to take the first step?
Your reproductive physician will be able to help you determine whether you’re ready to start IUI. He or she will need to verify two requirements for artificial insemination:
- The woman being inseminated must have open fallopian tubes and be able to ovulate.
- The sperm specimen must have at least one million motile sperm / cc.
If you think you’re ready for IUI — or any other means of assisted reproduction — in New York City, reach out to our friendly, knowledgeable fertility team to set up your consultation today.