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Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Learn about intrauterine insemination (IUI) in this Howcast video about infertility.


Intrauterine insemination, also known as IUI is a process by which sperm is placed into the uterine cavity by the fertility specialist, during the cycles in which women are trying to conceive. Intrauterine insemination is used in cases in which there is male factor infertility, for example cases in which sperm count is diminished or there is poor movement of sperm, or even cases that the shape of the sperm is poor and less likely to penetrate the eggs.

Intrauterine insemination is also used in cases of couples with unexplained infertility, and it's usually coupled at that point in time with some type of medication to stimulate the ovaries to release more eggs. So intrauterine insemination can be done by itself or it can be done in cases in which a woman is also being stimulated for more egg production.

It is a very common technique. It is generally painless. A man will produce a sperm sample, either at home or in the fertility center and the semen will be processed, where it will be centrifuged to separate out the sperm from the semen proteins. The sperm is then put into a concentrate, placed in a syringe and injected through the woman's cervix into her uterine cavity. From there the sperm will travel up the Fallopian tubes towards the eggs.

The timing of the insemination is imperative. Inseminations have a much higher chance of working if the sperm is in the reproductive tract prior to ovulation. Intrauterine insemination is often an effective and safe, and comfortable way of achieving pregnancy in relation to some other techniques.

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