“Intrauterine insemination” (IUI) simply means putting sperm into your uterus. It is the simplest form of treatment for couples having trouble conceiving. As it is so simple and easy, doctors may recommend that you try IUI before you try any other treatment.
IUI is carried out at the IVF unit and is usually performed in conjunction with ovulation induction.
A doctor at the Unit will prescribe drugs to stimulate you to ovulate on a particular day, after carefully calculating the dose that is right for you. You will need two different types of drug.
Firstly, you will need a drug that tells the immature eggs in your ovaries to start growing and developing. The drugs that do this mimic the action of a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. This hormone is called “follicle stimulating hormone” (or FSH for short). FSH tells the immature eggs in your ovaries to grow. These immature eggs grow inside a bubble of fluid, known as a “follicle.”
You will be given regular ultrasound scans whilst you are receiving these drugs. These scans will measure the size and number of your growing follicles, to decide when you are ready to ovulate.
When one follicle reaches the right size, you will be given another hormone injection. This hormone will stimulate the release of the egg from the follicle (ovulation) at a predictable time so we can perform the IUI at the optimal time for sperm and egg to meet and hopefully fertilities.
One problem with ovarian stimulation prior to IUI is that more than one follicle may develop, causing a risk of multiple pregnancy and this may result in the cycle being cancelled without being completed.
What happens on the day of my IUI procedure?
If your partner is provided the sperm, he will be asked to provide a fresh semen sample on the day of your IUI procedure. We have a dedicated, private room for this. The sperm needs to be processed in the laboratory prior to insemination.
The insemination procedure will be carried out in a private treatment room at the IVF unit by a doctor or by a highly trained, experienced nurse.
The prepared sperm will be transferred into the cavity of the uterus where the sperm will hopefully swim towards the egg in the fallopian tube. This means that fertilisation will take place naturally inside your body.
IUI can be carried out with donor sperm if your partner’s sperm are unable to fertilise your egg or if you do not have a male partner. At present the Hull IVF Unit cannot offer the use of our donors for IUI. However, patients are encouraged to source their own donor sperm which we can store and use for your IUI treatment.
There are many Clinics willing to distribute donor sperm samples for use in IUI and we will be more than happy to talk you through your options. The following links are some of the Clinics offering donor sperm to transfer to the Hull IVF Unit:
Based in the UK
The following links are on the website of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), and will open up in a new browser window:
“What is IUI and how does it work?”. Sometimes it is helpful to have another explanation to help you understand a procedure. This link offers another explanation of IUI and how it is carried out.
“What is donor insemination and how does it work?”. More detail about using donor sperm for IUI.
“Using donated sperm in your treatment”. Some information on the legal implications of using donor sperm in your treatment.