What is IUI?

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is the process of inserting sperm directly into the women’s uterus via a minimally invasive procedure. The aim of this procedure is to give sperm a “head-start” but the sperm used must be able to reach the egg and fertilize on its own. In addition, IUI works most effectively with fallopian tubes that are unobstructed, this mist be checked prior to the procedure to ensure success.

The procedure

What is involved for the female?

Women are commonly started on fertility drugs prior to the IUI procedure. Fertility drugs are used to stimulate ovulation and the development of the female’s eggs following this treatment is tracked via vaginal ultrasound.

Once the egg has matured and is ready for fertilization, the female is given a hormone injection which stimulates the release of the egg. After approximately 36-40 hours later the sperm is inserted into the female’s vagina using a speculum in order to keep the vaginal walls separated to help facilitate the process. A small catheter which is simply a soft, flexible tube is then inserted into the female’s uterus via the cervix. The sperm is then injected directly into the uterus through the catheter.

IUI is a quick process, usually only taking a few minutes. The procedure is usually painless but some women can experience temporary pain that feels similar to menstrual-like cramping. Women are encouraged to rest at our centre for a short time prior to being discharged home.


What is involved for the male?

Males are asked to provide a sperm sample for the procedure. This sample is required on the day of the procedure to ensure the most effective living sperm is used. In our laboratory the sperm is washed to remove surrounding liquid. The rapidly moving sperm is then separated from the slower moving sperm. As described above, the rapidly moving sperm is the sperm used in the procedure and once isolated is placed into the catheter for insertion into the female’s uterus.