Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

IUI is a procedure in which sperm is placed in your uterus using an insemination catheter. It is done in clinic by a specially trained nurse. This may help couples with a known low sperm count or motility issues. It may also help with unexplained infertility.

You may or may not take medicines before IUI. This is based on the reason IUI is needed.

IUI is done at the time of ovulation. Ovulation is timed using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) or in some cases ultrasound. Your provider will make a plan with you at a clinic visit.

IUI can be done using partner or donor sperm. If partner sperm is used, the male partner provides a sample before the insemination. The sample is prepped for insemination in our andrology lab. When it is ready, you go to the clinic for insemination.

A speculum is placed so the nurse can see the cervix. A soft, flexible catheter is then passed through your cervix into the uterus. The sperm is placed through the catheter. You may have some uterine cramping, but most people tolerate it well. Then, you rest for 15 minutes with your hips inclined after it is done.

There is a slight risk of infection. This is rare because sterile equipment is used.

Call your provider right away if you have:

  • Pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Abnormal discharge

Take a home pregnancy test 2 weeks after the IUI. If it is positive, call the clinic to talk about next steps.

Last reviewed: 
April 2021
Alternative Names: 
Intrauterine insemination

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