What is IUI?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a type of fertility treatment which can help patients start a family using either a partner or a donor’s sperm.
Some patients choose IUI because it’s less invasive than other treatment types, and sometimes involves less medication. It’s also quick and should cause no more discomfort than a cervical smear test.
What is the IUI procedure?
Prior to carrying out IUI your consultant will recommend some investigations to confirm that this treatment type is suitable for you. The process itself involves depositing sperm directly into the womb.
By delivering the concentrated sperm directly into the womb, IUI creates the ideal environment for conception to occur.
How does it work?
An initial consultation is the first step in any treatment journey. In this 60 minute appointment you will discuss your medical history and goals with your consultant, who will also tell you more about the treatment types on offer and answer your questions.
Blood tests and investigations
Some blood tests and investigations will be required to ensure IUI is a suitable treatment for you. These typically include an Ovarian Reserve Test and a 3D Hycosy to understand the number of antral follicles (fluid filled sacs) in the ovaries and the health of the fallopian tubes. Similarly, a semen analysis will be conducted to confirm the quality of the sperm being used.
Follow up consultation
Once your test results are back you will meet with your consultant to discuss the results. During this meeting your consultant will also confirm a “treatment plan” based on these results.
Agree your treatment plan
Before moving forward with any medication or treatment you will need to agree to the treatment plan and estimated costs which our Patient Liaison Team will provide you with.
This meeting with one of our specialised fertility nurses marks the start of treatment itself. Your nurse will explain the different steps of treatment, how and when to take your medication and answer any other questions you might have.
If your treatment plan includes “stimulation” you will undergo a course of medication and monitoring which will help ensure your body in the best state possible prior to your treatment.
A small, flexible tube will be guided to the womb via the vagina and a concentrated sperm sample will be deposited there.
14 day pregnancy test
14 days after your procedure you will take a home pregnancy test to confirm the results of your treatment. Whatever the outcome, our team of consultants, nurses and counsellors will be on hand to help support you in your next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
The process of IUI
How long does IUI take?
The IUI procedure itself takes around 10 minutes. However, the investigations, consultations and preparation usually takes 4 - 6 weeks, as certain tests need to be undertaken at certain points of the menstrual cycle.
Is IUI suitable for everyone?
Unfortunately IUI is not suitable for everyone. Your consultant will be able to ascertain if IUI is suitable for you based on the results from your tests, and recommend alternatives if needed.
Is IUI safe?
IUI is a safe procedure in which CRGH are highly experienced. You can read more about the risks below, or visit the HFEA website which explains the risks of all fertility treatments available in the UK.
How do I find donor sperm for IUI?
We can help find a sperm donor for your IUI should you need it. You can also source donor sperm from other recognised banks. Our andrologists will help explain what to look for in a sperm donor, and our counsellors will discuss with you the aspects you should consider prior to donor conception.
Can I do IUI without medication?
Some patients undergo IUI without stimulation or medication, sometimes called “natural IUI”. Your consultant will discuss the benefits and risks of this option in your consultation.
How much does IUI cost?
Treatment costs vary depending on your individual needs, particularly when it comes to medication. You can find an example of the costs on our Pricing page.
How to prepare for IUI
How should I prepare for IUI?
As part of your treatment plan your consultant will prescribe medication that will help prepare your body for IUI. Our nurses will also help explain the lifestyle changes which could help maximise your chances of success.
Is there anything I should avoid prior to IUI?
It’s important to keep your body healthy and relaxed prior to any treatment type. Avoiding stress, smoking and excess alcohol prior to your treatment can help prepare your body for IUI. You will also need to take folic acid.
What should I do after IUI?
After IUI you should continue to avoid excess stress. A healthy diet and regular light exercise will help to keep your body strong after IUI while you wait for your pregnancy test results. Your consultant may also prescribe medication to continue to take in the early stages of your pregnancy.
Our consultants are experts at understanding your previous medical and fertility history, as well as your goals for treatment. Having taken a detailed medical history, your consultant will help you understand the treatment options which are available and answer any questions you might have.
By monitoring your follicle count during stimulation we can minimise this risk. You may also experience some mild period like cramps during or shortly after the procedure itself. You can also learn more about the risks associated with all fertility treatment available in the UK on the HFEA website.