Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), also called artificial insemination, is a procedure in which sperm is placed directly in the uterus at the time of ovulation. This allows the sperm to circumvent the cervix, with a shorter trip to the fallopian tubes from the uterus. This shortened distance increases the chances of the sperm meeting the egg for fertilization. After a semen sample is collected, it is “washed” in a laboratory to separate sperm cells from seminal fluid (which can cause uterine cramping) and then inserted into the uterus at the time of ovulation. The procedure does not require anesthesia and normally takes only a few minutes to complete.
IUI may be appropriate for men with low or absent sperm production, erectile dysfunction, or abnormal sperm function, as well as for women with cervical scarring or using donor sperm. It is often used in conjunction with ovulation induction.
For more information on IUI, please read the American Society for Reproductive Medicine fact sheet for patients.