Intrauterine Insemination

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to encourage natural fertilisation.

Is IUI suitable for me?

This form of fertility treatment is a less invasive and less expensive option in comparison to in vitro fertilisation.

It is generally suitable for:

  • Couples with unexplained infertility
  • Couples with a mild male factor infertility – such as low sperm count or motility
  • Ejaculation dysfunction
  • Women or couples who are using donor sperm
  • Lesbian couples or single women using donor sperm who have no history of infertility

What is the process?

An IUI cycle is less invasive than an IVF cycle.

After an initial assessment, you will be given a treatment plan.

You will have an ultrasound scan to ensure that your fallopian tubes are open and healthy.
If you are having stimulated IUI, you will be prescribed medication to help boost egg production.

You will also have ultrasound scans to check on how many follicles are developing. Shortly before your eggs are collected, you will be given a hormone injection to help the eggs mature.

For a natural cycle, you will have a blood test to check when you're about to ovulate.
Sperm are washed and prepared so that the best quality sperm are selected and injected into your uterus.

The process is the same if you are using donor sperm or your partners sperm.
The whole process takes just a few minutes and is relatively pain free.

You will be given a date to carry out your pregnancy test and a review consultation may be offered depending on the clinic chosen and result.

The waiting time after insemination and the pregnancy test is usually around 2 weeks.

Success rates

IUI is a more natural form of treatment and success rates are lower – generally around a third of IVF success rates.

According to the HFEA, the success rates per individual cycle vary as follows:

  • 16% for women under 35;
  • 11% for women aged 35 to 39; and
  • 5% for women aged 40 to 42.

It is important to understand the impact of cumulative success rates – i.e. the chance of having a baby over multiple cycles.

Overall, over half of women having IUI become pregnant over the first six cycles.

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