Artificial Insemination (AI) or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) (also called Artificial Insemination (AI))

What Is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?

IUI is a procedure that places sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal is to increase the number of sperm that are able to reach the fallopian tubes to increase the likelihood of fertilizing an egg cell.

Prior to IUI, sperm cells are “washed” and concentrated and are then placed throughout the cervix and directly into the uterine cavity around the time that a woman is ovulating.

When Is It Used?

IUI may be incorporated as part of fertility treatment under the following circumstances:

  • Male factor infertility
  • Unexplained infertility or subfertility
  • Donor sperm for single parents by choice or LGBT parents
  • Cervical problems
  • Sexual dysfunction, such as painful intercourse, erection or ejaculatory problems

What Do I Need to Know?

IUI is an outpatient procedure performed in the office and does not require medication or pain relievers. The process is comparable to what a woman experiences during a routine well-woman PAP examination.

  • While lying on an exam table, the patient places her legs into stirrups, and a speculum is placed into her vagina.
  • A vial containing a partner’s (or donor’s) sperm is attached to a long, thin, flexible tube (called a catheter).
  • The catheter is passed through the cervix and sperm is placed into the uterine cavity.

After insemination, the patient should lie back and relax for a short time. Once the procedure is complete, she can return to normal light activities.

Information Source: Mayo Clinic