Intrauterine Insemination

Intrauterine Insemination (or IUI) and Artificial Insemination (or AI) are all synonymous terms. They involve taking a sperm specimen and preparing it by a process frequently referred to as “washing.” This allows the sperm to be safely placed directly into a woman’s uterus via a small catheter. Artificial insemination lets the sperm bypass the most difficult part of their normal journey in getting from the vagina to the end of the fallopian tube. With normal intercourse, a vast majority of the sperm is expelled from the vagina before they even get into the cervix and start the trip toward the egg. For a man with modest sperm parameters, this can be a critical problem. Artificial insemination bypasses this “vaginal fallout” of the sperm. Artificial insemination can be performed in a natural menstrual cycle, with ovulation induction and with superovulation. Indications for artificial insemination include treatment of a mild male factor, insemination with donor sperm, or treatment of logistical issues regarding intercourse or ejaculation. A prerequisite for AI/IUI is, however, that the semen parameters of the sperm are thought to be within the working limits of artificial insemination.