Intrauterine insemination (IUI), often called artificial insemination, is a simpler and less invasive procedure than some other infertility treatments. It involves concentrating sperm and placing them directly into the uterus during the time of ovulation. This is often one of the first steps couples consider when trying to conceive.
Artificial insemination improves the chances of conception by maximizing the number of available sperm, shortening the path that sperm need to travel and making them ready to fertilize an egg. Intrauterine insemination is used in cases of:
- Male infertility
- Unexplained infertility
- Poor cervical mucus
- Same-sex couples trying to conceive
While this first-step infertility treatment is more cost-effective than other methods, there is no way of knowing right away if fertilization has taken place. If artificial insemination is not effective for couples, many move on to other treatments such as in vitro fertilization, which is more expensive but often produces higher success rates.
How it works
Different tests may be used to make sure ovulation is taking place before the sperm is inserted. After a semen sample is collected, it is cleaned and concentrated to increase the likeliness of fertilization once in the uterus. This concentrated sperm is then placed into the uterus using a catheter.