Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a form of artificial insemination. It is a relatively simple procedure that places sperm closer to the site where fertilization occurs at the time the woman is most fertile. To do this, your physician will use a thin tube called a catheter and place it directly into the cervix. A carefully prepared ("washed") sperm sample is then injected directly through the catheter into the uterus.
The IUI may be performed naturally during a woman's normal menstrual cycle or in combination with fertility medications. It has been shown that doing an IUI in combination with fertility medications can stimulate the production of eggs to increase the chance of conception. Prior to the artificial insemination procedure, the male partner collects sperm through masturbation in our clinic. Sperm is then sent to our laboratory where it is separated from the seminal fluid which can irritate the uterine lining. The most active, motile (normal, foward moving) and healthy sperm are extracted and then placed into the uterus via a catheter. The insemination procedure takes no more than 5 minutes. In rare cases, there may be mild cramping following the procedure, but this is normally mild and short-lived. Our patients can resume normal activity immediately. The doctor may recommend that the patient have intercourse on the day or evening of artificial insemination to further increase chances of conception.
The procedure is similar for our patients using donor sperm. Sperm from the sperm bank, which will already be here on the day the IUI is performed, is thawed and a sperm count and motility assessment are performed. From that point, the insemination with frozen-thawed donor sperm is the same as with fresh sperm.