Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure designed to place sperm directly into a woman’s uterus through artificial means. The sperm is prepared for this procedure in the laboratory and then deposited inside the uterine cavity using a small catheter passed through the cervical canal.
IUI is recommended for patients:
- who do not produce cervical mucus around the time of a natural ovulation or after ovulation induction with clomiphene citrate or letrozole.
- in whom the partner’s sperm count is not normal.
- who have unexplained infertility.
IUI can be performed during a natural ovulation cycle, or with ovulation induction medications. In general, after administration of the ovulation induction medication, an ultrasound will be performed to monitor egg development in the ovaries. Hormone levels will also be checked to pinpoint ovulation.
Once the time of ovulation is predicted, a semen sample will be produced by the partner in the andrology lab. The semen is processed through a special technique known as sperm wash, which consists of incubation and separation of the sperm to obtain the best quality sperm. The final sample will be placed inside the uterine cavity using a catheter specially designed for IUI.