Tulsa Fertility Center White Logo

Intrauterine Insemination

Minimally invasive, highly effective intrauterine insemination, IUI

IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a fertility treatment option where sperm is placed directly into the woman’s uterus with a thin, flexible tube, bypassing the vagina and cervix. An IUI is performed around the time of ovulation and improves the chance of conceiving by:

  • Shortening the time it takes for the sperm to reach the fallopian tubes.
  • Increasing the volume of sperm that can fertilize the egg.

Who benefits from intrauterine insemination, IUI?

IUI is often seen as a first-line treatment for infertility at Tulsa Fertility Center since it is less complicated and less expensive than other In vitro fertilization (IVF). It is particularly useful for women who:

  • Have scarring in their cervix (often, due to surgery) that prevents sperm movement to the uterus
  • In cases of Unexplained Infertility

The IUI procedure is also helpful for male infertility. It is used for men who:

  • Have low sperm counts
  • Have problems with sperm motility (or sperm movement)
  • Have difficulty maintaining an erection
  • Have retrograde ejaculation (a condition where sperm are released backward into the bladder instead of out through the penis during ejaculation)

IUI is also used for couples who want to undergo third party reproduction cycles with donor sperm insemination.

This procedure also helps men who have chosen to freeze (cryopreserve) their sperm for future use. Frozen sperm can easily be thawed and used in IUI procedures many years in the future. Often men facing cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or testicular surgery can bank frozen sperm for fertility preservation.

What preparation is needed for IUI at Tulsa Fertility Center?

The procedure needs to be performed during ovulation, so the woman will need to have regular office ultrasounds to track follicle development.

Our Tulsa fertility specialist will often use ovulation induction with Clomid (clomiphene citrate) or gonadotropins to increase the chance of conception with IUI. IUI cycles that are augmented with fertility medications require careful monitoring with periodic blood work to track hormone levels and ultrasounds to follow the development of numerous eggs in the ovaries. The male partner will need to produce a sperm sample at Tulsa Fertility Center so the sperm can be prepared for IUI.

The semen collected will be “washed” to remove the seminal fluid from the IUI sperm sample.  The washing procedure prevents cramping of the uterus during the IUI procedure and concentrates the most motile sperm for the procedure.

What is involved with the IUI procedure?

IUI itself is relatively simple and quick and is performed in our Tulsa Fertility Center office without the need for anesthesia.  A thin, flexible catheter is inserted through the vagina and cervix and high into the uterus where the sperm sample is placed. The actual IUI procedure takes approximately 5 minutes and is almost always painless. Some mild cramping after the procedure is normal.

What is the success rate of IUI?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, IUI, when performed monthly with fresh or frozen sperm, has a success rate as high as 20% per cycle depending on multiple factors, including the age of the female partner, whether or not fertility medications are used in conjunction with the procedure, and the infertility diagnosis.

If you and your partner would like to learn more about IUI or other treatments for infertility, please contact us at Tulsa Fertility Center.