When you are having Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), we place specially prepared sperm directly into the womb at the time when eggs are being released.
What is IUI?
IUI is designed to help a higher number of better quality sperm reach the womb, increasing the chances of fertilisation. Intrauterine Insemination simply means putting prepared sperm into the uterus. When you are about to ovulate, the most motile sperm will be used for insemination. We use fertility drugs to optimise egg production.
If you are using sperm from a donor, this is known as donor insemination (DI).
Is IUI right for me?
IUI is recommended for people unable to conceive, perhaps because of a low sperm count or poor sperm mobility. If you’re younger than 35, you might consider IUI after trying unsuccessfully to conceive for one year. If you’re older than 35, you might be a candidate if you’ve been trying to conceive for six months.
Before having IUI, we will do some tests to discover the main reason behind your difficulty conceiving. This will help us decide whether IUI is suitable for you. A woman will need open and healthy fallopian tubes to be considered for IUI.
We would not recommend IUI if you have unexplained fertility, poor-quality sperm or mild endometriosis, as research suggests IUI is unlikely to increase your chances of pregnancy.
What is the IUI treatment process?
IUI is a process that puts healthy sperm directly into the uterus. A vial containing a sperm sample is attached to a catheter and this is inserted through the vagina and the cervical opening, finishing in the uterus. Sperm is then pushed through the tube and into the uterus.
The procedure only takes a few minutes to complete and is almost always painless. Some mild discomfort may occur, and you may experience mild cramps, but both feelings should disappear once the process is over.
We time IUI treatment to coincide with ovulation, using blood or urine tests and ultrasound to carefully monitor the ovulation cycle. If needed, we might also trigger ovulation with medication and then time the procedure to take place 36 hours later.
Before you decide to have IUI, it’s worth remembering that - as with any fertility treatment - there is no guarantee of success. IUI success rates are low in comparison to IVF. Your fertility specialist will make a treatment recommendation based on your individual circumstances.
Risks of IUI
While the risks of IUI are incredibly low, there is still a chance of the following:
Infection following the procedure.
Spotting. Inserting the catheter can cause a small amount of vaginal bleeding, but this rarely impacts the chances of pregnancy.
Multiple pregnancies, when performed with ovulation-inducing medication.
Benefits of IUI
IUI is a good option for single women and same sex couples who don't have fertility issues but need donor sperm.
IUI is the lowest-cost form of assisted reproduction treatment.
There is no egg collection involved in IUI, meaning that there is no invasive procedure, and sedation is not required.
Incredibly safe, with very low risks involved.
Mostly painless procedure
Success with IUI
Whilst IUI is a less invasive and less expensive option than IVF, pregnancy rates from IUI are lower than IVF. Reasons include lack of monitoring of embryo development or selection of the most viable embryo as we can do with IVF.
The success of IUI depends on many factors, including:
The reason IUI is being performed. If IUI is used to help lesbian couples or single women using donor sperm, there isn't necessarily a fertility issue preventing them from becoming pregnant
The woman's age
The man's sperm count and quality of sperm.
Whether it is carried out in a drug-stimulated or natural (drug-free) cycle
IUI vs IVF - Considerations and comparisons
In IUI, sperm are inserted into the uterus to fertilise an egg. In contrast, IVF involves collecting eggs and fertilising them in a lab, before transferring a cultured embryo back into the uterus. Patients choosing between IUI and IVF fertility treatments should consider the following:
IUI is less invasive and less expensive
IVF has a higher success rate
IUI treatments generally involve multiple treatment cycles.
Pregnancy rates from IUI are lower than IVF because there is no monitoring of embryo development or selection of the most viable embryo.
Cost of IUI
The below prices do not include drugs, the estimated drugs costs in a medicated or stimulated cycle are:
50% of our patients pay less than £40 for their drugs in an IUI cycle
For the remaining 50%, the typical cost of medication is £375, which includes rare situations where a patient requires medication costing up to £771. The type of cycle we recommend for you will depend on your medical history and the results of tests carried out as part of your pre-treatment planning.
IUI with partner sperm
IUI with donor sperm
HFEA fee - only applicable if using donated sperm
Get started with Care
Arranging a consultation is simple; we offer virtual and in-person consultations.
You can book your consultation and pre-treatment tests below.
Or if you’d like to talk to someone at Care about your options, it's straightforward to get started, call us on0800 564 2270.