8 Things to Know About IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN on September 18, 2020
  • Mother with newborn infant smiling with eyes closed
    IUI can boost the odds of conception.
    Approximately one in eight couples struggles with infertility in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, can increase the likelihood of conception for many couples by making it easier for egg and sperm to meet. During IUI, sperm is injected directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation, which dramatically decreases the distance the sperm must travel to fertilize the egg. There are many different treatment options for different types and causes of infertility. How do you know if IUI is the right choice for you? These nine facts will help you decide.
  • Couple holding hands while talking to doctor
    1. IUI can be used to treat male and female infertility.
    Intrauterine insemination is a good option for males who have mild infertility because the procedure separates high-quality sperm from low-quality sperm and places them very near the egg. IUI is also a good option for males who cannot have an erection or have retrograde ejaculation, a condition in which sperm is ejaculated into the male bladder. IUI is also commonly used to treat endometriosis-associated infertility, and female fertility problems related to the cervix.
  • Woman holding pregnant belly with hands in shape of a heart
    2. IUI can be used with fertility meds.
    Intrauterine insemination can be used in conjunction with fertility medicine. These meds boost egg production in females, which increases the likelihood of conception. IUI can also be timed to coordinate with the female’s natural menstrual cycle. As a stand-alone procedure, IUI does not increase the chances of conceiving twins, triplets or more. However, couples who use IUI with fertility medicine are more likely to conceive multiples.
  • Young pregnant couple outdoors
    3. It may take multiple tries to achieve conception.
    Women younger than 35 have a 10 to 20% chance of pregnancy after one round of intrauterine insemination. For women between the ages of 35 and 40, the odds are approximately 10%, and for women older than 40, there is approximately a 2 to 5% chance of pregnancy after one round of IUI. However, according to some fertility experts, the odds of getting pregnant with 3 to 6 cycles of IUI is as high as 80%.
  • Couple talking to woman at conference table
    4. IUI is a cost-effective option.
    One round of IUI costs anywhere between a few hundred dollars to $2000 or so, depending on where you live. A round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) costs about $12,000. Even though it may take a few rounds of IUI to conceive, the overall cost of IUI is usually significantly less than IVF. In fact, the cost to achieve a pregnancy via IUI is often half that of IVF.
  • Illustration of sperm cells
    5. You can use fresh or frozen sperm.
    You can use your partner’s sperm or donor sperm, and the sperm can be fresh or frozen. If your partner has trouble producing a semen sample due to difficulty with erection or ejaculation, the clinic may be able to obtain semen from him via specialized medical procedures. The clinic will carefully examine and prepare the semen sample before the intrauterine insemination procedure.
  • Doctor performing ultrasound on woman's stomach or pelvic organs
    6. Timing of IUI is important.
    To achieve maximum likelihood of success, the sperm must be injected into the uterus right around the time of ovulation. Your medical team may monitor hormone levels or use ultrasound technology to pinpoint impending ovulation. In most cases, intrauterine insemination is performed a day or two after ovulation occurs. If you are using fertility medicine to induce ovulation, your fertility doctor will give you explicit instructions regarding when to administer hormone injections.
  • Young woman on exam table in hospital gown
    7. IUI takes about 20 minutes.
    The intrauterine insemination procedure is painless and only takes a few minutes. IUI is usually performed in a doctor’s office or clinic, with the female positioned on the exam table as if she’s about to undergo a Pap test. The healthcare provider will insert a very thin tube into the woman’s vagina and through the cervix and inject the sperm into the uterus through this tube. Some women experience mild cramping and spotting after IUI.
  • Close-up of pregnancy test in woman's hands
    8. It’s possible to have a false-negative or false-positive result.
    After an IUI procedure, you have to wait at least two weeks to see if you have conceived. Even though it’s incredibly hard to wait, checking too early with an at-home pregnancy test can generate a false-negative result because pregnancy hormone levels are not yet high enough to measure. The pregnancy test will be negative, but you could still be pregnant. Fertility medicine to induce ovulation—such as HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)—can cause a false-positive pregnancy test. If you are taking HCG, the medicine could produce a positive result even though you are not pregnant. A blood test at your doctor’s office is a more accurate way to measure pregnancy hormones.
IUI | 8 Things to Know About Intrauterine Insemination

About The Author

Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN is a Registered Nurse-turned-writer. She’s also the creator of BuildingBoys.net and co-creator/co-host of the podcast On Boys: Real Talk about Parenting, Teaching & Reaching Tomorrow’s Men. Most recently, she is the author ofThe First-Time Mom's Guide to Raising Boys: Practical Advice for Your Son's Formative Years.
  1. Infertility. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://resolve.org/infertility-101/what-is-infertility/fast-facts/
  2. Intrauterine insemination (IUI). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/intrauterine-insemination/about/pac-20384722?p=1
  3. Infertility. Office on Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility
  4. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/infertility/conditioninfo/treatments/art
  5. Intrauterine insemination (IUI). American Society for Reproductive Medicine. https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/intrauterine-insemination-iui/
  6. The Difference Between IUI and IVF. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. https://www.reproductivefacts.org/resources/educational-videos/videos/asrmsart-micro-videos/videos/the-difference-between-iui-and-ivf/
  7. IUI Success Rates. Attain Fertility. https://attainfertility.com/understanding-fertility/treatment-options/iui/success-rates/
  8. Treating Infertility. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Treating-Infertility#intrauterine
  9. What Is IUI? Planned Parenthood. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/fertility-treatments/what-iui

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 18
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