How Artificial Insemination / IUI Works
Artificial Insemination [AI] refers to the process of a physician inserting sperm directly into a woman’s uterus (IUI), cervix (ICI), or fallopian tubes. Artificial insemination is used in cases of male and female infertility as well as for LGBT family building.
IUI, intrauterine insemination, is the most popular form of artificial insemination.
How Artificial Insemination Works
The procedure does not require much time at a doctor’s office (around 5-10 minutes), and most women describe AI as painless. AI is typically timed with a woman’s natural menstrual cycle, but it can be timed with a stimulated cycle that uses medication to prompt follicle growth. You can discuss with your physician which method is best for your situation. Your physician will then provide a recommendation. For IUI, the sperm must be “washed” in order to prevent possible medical complications. Sperm washing prepares the sperm by removing chemicals that could harm the uterus.
AI can be performed up to twice a month until the patient has a positive pregnancy test. Your fertility specialist can advise on how many IUI cycles are appropriate before moving on to a different fertility treatment, like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Success rates for AI can vary due to a number of factors, some of which include the diagnosis of the male or female partner facing a fertility issue, the age of the female patient, and whether the female patient is using fertility medications prior to and during treatment.
AI is often the first step in fertility treatment unless a diagnosis reveals that another form of treatment is preferable. It is one of the most budget-friendly forms of fertility care.
Do I need AI?
AI can be used in cases of:
- Unexplained infertility
- Situations where scar tissue is present on the cervix
- Issues with cervical mucus that prevent conception
- Male fertility issues such as erectile dysfunction or ejaculation dysfunction
- LGBT family building (same-sex female couples using a sperm donor)
IUI is not recommended for:
- Women with endometriosis (scar tissue outside of the uterus)
- Women who have had a pelvic infection
- Women with fallopian tube issues
If you have questions about using artificial insemination to conceive or if you’d like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office today.