What is
Intrauterine
Insemination
(IUI)?

IUI is a technique in which sturdy sperm are sifted out from flaccid ones and later the washed sperm are placed into women’s uterus during the time of ovulation. Before the IUI treatment commences, it is usually mandatory to undergo a Tubal Patency Test to ascertain whether the fallopian tubes are open.

This method is particularly beneficial for the couples whose infertility problem is unexplained and ambiguous. This technique is also used when men can’t ejaculate in their partners’ vagina due to various reasons ranging from psychological issues, impotence, vaginismus or anatomic problems. It is also useful in couples with mild problems in the semen of the male partner.

When is IUI recommended?

IUI is often recommended for women or couples who:



  • Have ovulation problems and are undergoing ovulation induction, especially when timed intercourse has not succeeded.

  • Are unable to have appropriately timed intercourse due to travel problems or in cases of sexual dysfunction.

  • Have mild male factor infertility.

  • Have unexplained infertility.

  • Are women using donor sperm.

  • Have been unsuccessful with infertility medication alone or with other treatments



Preparing for an IUI procedure

For women
If you are not using fertility drugs, IUI will be performed between day 12 and 16 of your monthly cycle – with day one being the first day of your period. You will be given blood tests or urine tests to identify when you are about to ovulate. At Xenith, we believe in doing IUI with a mild amount of Ovarian stimulation as the rationale behind IUI is not just increasing male gametes but also female gametes, thereby increasing pregnancy rates.

Or:

If you use fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation, vaginal ultrasound scans are used to track the development of your eggs. Oral medication and lose dose hormone injections may be given to optimize the number and quality of oocytes. As soon as the eggs are mature, you are given a hormone injection to stimulate its release.

The sperm will be inserted 36–40 hours later. The doctor will first insert a speculum into your vagina, as in a smear test, to keep your vaginal walls apart. A small catheter (a soft, flexible tube) will then be threaded into your womb via your cervix. The best-quality sperm will be selected and inserted through the catheter.

The whole process only takes a few minutes and is usually painless. Some women may experience a temporary, menstrual-like cramping. You may want to rest for a short time before going home.

For men:

You will be asked to produce a sperm sample on the day the treatment takes place.

The sperm will be washed to remove the fluid surrounding them and the rapidly moving sperm will be separated out from the slower sperm.

The rapidly moving sperm will be placed in a small catheter to be inserted into the womb.

If you are using donated or frozen sperm, it will be removed from frozen storage, thawed and prepared in the same way.

Are there any downsides to IUI?

Despite the benefits, IUI is not for everyone.


  • The timing of the insemination is crucial, so your spouse must be able to produce a sperm sample by ejaculating into a cup on demand at the clinic.

  • It may be uncomfortable if it proves difficult to insert the catheter. And the procedure may cause cramps similar to period pains.

  • With stimulated cycles there is a very small risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This serious condition happens when your ovaries respond too well to the fertility drugs that cause you to ovulate. The ovaries rapidly swell up to several times their normal size and can leak fluid into your tummy, making you gain weight and feel full and bloated.

    It's vital that you seek medical help if you think you are experiencing OHSS. You may need to stay in hospital while your ovaries settle down, and your doctor will probably advise cancelling your IUI treatment for this cycle. That's because the risks of conceiving a multiple pregnancy will be too great.

    This situation arises rarely during IUI and is more common during IVF cycles. We would be monitoring you carefully and keep you informed in case such a situation is expected.


  • Rarely infection may occur.