Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

The aim of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is to respect the natural environment of the gametes as much as possible, thus favouring fertilisation. This technique consists of depositing a semen sample, which has been prepared in advance in the laboratory, inside the woman’s uterus in order to increase the potential of the spermatozoa and improve the chances of the egg being fertilised.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
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Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a less complex and less invasive assisted reproduction treatment. It is a form of artificial insemination in which a semen sample, either from a male partner or from a donor, is inserted directly the woman’s uterus. This procedure increases the chances of pregnancy compared to sexual intercourse for several reasons:

  • The semen sample is is washed and prepared in the laboratory to contain only motile sperm capable of fertilising an egg.
  • The treatment can be combined with an ovarian stimulation protocol to control the growth and maturation of the ovarian follicles and increase the chances of pregnancy.
  • The timing of the insemination procedure is optimised so that the injection of the sperm sample into the uterus coincides with ovulation.
  • The timing of the insemination procedure can also be scheduled at the optimal time for egg growth and maturation.

In which cases is it recommended?

Intrauterine insemination can be performed with a semen sample from a male partner or from a donor (donor insemination). It is often recommended in less complex cases where there may not necessarily be any fertility issue, such as for single women requiring donated sperm or female same-sex couples. However, IUI can also be used to treat specific problems. Some of these include:

 

Success Rates
As a low complexity treatment, intrauterine insemination offers lower pregnancy rates than other assisted reproduction treatments, but higher than those of sexual intercourse.

42.9%

With partner sperm

14.3%

With donor sperm

* Live birth rate (LBR) in patients < 35 years old. Based on 2018 data verified by the HFEA.

Intrauterine insemination step-by-step

Ovarian stimulation
STEP 1

Ovarian stimulation

The treatment process starts at the beginning of the woman’s menstrual cycle, at which point ovarian stimulation begins. This lasts between 10 – 12 days.
Ovarian stimulation is optional; however, it can increase the chances of success. As women naturally produce only one egg per menstrual cycle, ovarian stimulation ensures one or two eggs develop. Your consultant will help you decide whether ovarian stimulation is recommended in your specific circumstances.

Follicular monitoring and preparation
STEP 2

Follicular monitoring and preparation

The ovulation cycle is carefully monitored using a series of ultrasound scans and blood tests. Once the follicles have reached the appropriate number and size, a hCG hormone trigger injection may be administered to induce ovulation. The insemination procedure is scheduled 36 hours later.

Preparation of the semen sample
STEP 3

Preparation of the semen sample

On the day of the insemination procedure, the sperm sample is prepared in the laboratory of your IVI clinic. If the male partner’s sperm is being used, the partner must deposit the sample to the clinic two hours before the procedure is scheduled to take place. This process allows our scientists to select and concentrate the spermatozoa with the best motility and remove immobile or slow-moving spermatozoa, optimising the quality of the sample and increasing the chances of fertilisation.

Insemination procedure
STEP 4

Insemination procedure

The insemination procedure is quick and painless. It is performed without sedation or any need for surgery. After inserting a speculum, the semen sample is introduced through a cannula into the uterus. Following the procedure, you will rest for a few minutes. Afterwards, your consultant will arrange with you the date of your blood pregnancy test, which is usually 14 - 15 days after the IUI procedure. At IVI, we recommend that you live life as you normally would during this waiting period, however you should avoid high-intensity or overly strenuous activities.

Pregnancy test and monitoring
STEP 5

Pregnancy test and monitoring

If the result of your blood pregnancy test is positive, a follow-up ultrasound scan is scheduled 20 days later to confirm the pregnancy. Once the pregnancy is confirmed and you have been discharged from your IVI clinic, you can begin your maternity care with your chosen provider.

Why IVI?

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Experience

At IVI we have been offering the best assisted reproduction techniques for 30 years

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Patient Portal

You will have access to a complete online service throughout the whole process

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Research

We invest in research to make it easier for you to become a mother


Request information with no obligation

You can also call us on:
   New patients 0800 52 00 161
   Existing patients 0207 078 4868
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FAQs

IUI is a minimally invasive and practically painless procedure. The discomfort can be compared to that of a smear test. You may experience some cramping afterwards, but often what you feel is linked more to ovulation than to the insemination procedure itself.

It is normally recommended as a treatment for men with sub-optimal or diminished sperm quality. It can also be effective for single women and female same-sex couples.

Intrauterine Insemination is a method recommended for couples when the following requirements are met:

  • Tubal patency (no blockages within the fallopian tubes)
  • Motile sperm count (>3 million motile sperm post-capacitation)
  • Average ovarian reserve level
  • Under 38 years of age (applies to female partner only)

For single women or female couples, IUI is also an effective treatment option using donor sperm. The requirements will be similar excluding.

The start of the treatment must coincide with the woman’s menstrual cycle. Once established, ovarian stimulation begins (if required). This lasts for approximately 10 days. Once the follicle reaches the right size, ovulation is induced using a trigger injection. The insemination procedure is scheduled 36 hours later. In total, the whole process takes about 12 days.

  • An ultrasound scan to confirm there are no structural issues with the uterus or the ovaries which could impact the treatment
  • A tubal patency test to ensure at least one fallopian tube is functional
  • Hormonal profile and full serological testing
  • A semen analysis to assess semen characteristics

The insemination procedure is carried out at the clinic. It is an outpatient procedure that does not involve entering the operating theatre. Once the insemination has been performed, the woman can rest for 15-20 minutes although this has no impact on the chances of success. Once leaving the clinic, they can resume their day as normal.

IUI is a minimally invasive and practically painless procedure. The discomfort can be compared to that of a smear test. You may experience some cramping afterwards, but often what you feel is linked more to ovulation than to the insemination procedure itself.

The cost of Intrauterine Insemination treatment at IVI is £1,200.

You can have an IUI treatment performed at our IVI London clinic. If you are an IVI Birmingham patient, your consultant will explain your specific treatment pathway and on which date your procedure in London is scheduled. If you would like to request more information, please contact us.

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