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IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) at IVF New England

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is often a first-step fertility treatment when couples are having trouble getting pregnant through naturally occurring intercourse.

With intrauterine insemination (IUI), millions of sperm are placed directly into the uterus when the woman is most fertile, immediately prior to and during ovulation. The sperm cells are first "washed" with special solutions and concentrated to increase the number of sperm that make it to the fallopian tube where fertilization takes place. This improves the chances for conception.

IUI may be performed with or without the use of fertility drugs taken by the woman. When medications are used, the therapy is referred to as controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH). IUI with COH generally results in and increased likelihood of pregnancy.

Those who benefit from IUI include:

  • Couples with no known cause of infertility
  • Women with ovulatory disorders who respond well to fertility medication
  • Women with mild endometriosis
  • Women using donor sperm

For some patients, IVF (in vitro fertilization) may be advised, including:

  • Women with blocked or severely damaged fallopian tubes
  • Women with structural problems of the uterus
  • Women who do not ovulate
  • Men with low sperm counts, poor morphology, and/or poor motility

How can IUI be more effective than intercourse?

Dr Isaac Glatstein, Associate Medical Director at IVF New England, is a fertility doctor in Massachusetts. A Board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, he provides fertility screening and infertility treatment at the IVF New England fertility clinics in Quincy and Lexington, Massachusetts.

How IUI Is Performed

The female patient:

  • May or may not use fertility drugs to stimulate the ovulation of more than one oocyte (egg)
  • Monitors ovulation with a combination of at-home (home ovulation predictor kits, basal body temperature) and clinic (ultrasound, blood tests) techniques
  • Is monitored by the clinic for any adverse effects of fertility drugs
  • Receives a hormone injection (human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG) to prompt timed ovulation.

Male Spouse/Partner:

The man’s role is to provide a semen sample on the morning of ovulation. The semen sample is prepared in the embryology laboratory and then inserted through the cervix and into the uterus by way of a fine catheter. The procedure takes place at designated IVF New England fertility center locations and is relatively painless. No general anesthetic is necessary.

Possible Complications
Infrequent IUI complications include infection, uterine cramping, and rarely, transmission of venereal disease from the semen sample. Also, fertility medications have potential side effects, including ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and a pregnancy with more than one fetus.

If no pregnancy is achieved after three IUI's, IVF New England fertility specialists may recommend more advanced reproductive therapies such as IVF.

Success rates for IUI depend largely on the cause of infertility and the woman's age.

This information is provided for general education purposes and is not intended to take the place of a discussion with your physician. If you have questions about any aspect of your health, you are advised to speak with your physician.