Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Commonly known as artificial insemination, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is traditionally the intermediate step in infertility treatment before a course of IVF is attempted. IUI involves placing washed sperm (sperm separated from the naturally accompanying seminal plasma) into a very thin flexible catheter, which is inserted through the woman's cervix and then injected into the uterus.
Most women find the IUI procedure to be fairly painless, similar to having a pap smear, though there can be some cramping afterward. Ideally, an IUI should be performed immediately after ovulation (particularly when treating male factor infertility) or within six hours either side of ovulation.
IUI success rates are reported to be six percent or less and as high as 26 percent per cycle. More recent studies have found that IUI and natural intercourse produce similar birth rates, which severely undermines IUI as a standard assisted fertility technique. At New Hope Fertility Center, should timed intercourse fail, we proceed straight to IVF, cutting out the time and expense of IUI. Even when using donor sperm, we recommend proceeding with an IVF immediately instead of IUI.