Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves taking a semen sample from a man, washing the sperm cells from the seminal fluid, and placing the sperm into a specially designed media for injection into a woman’s cervix and uterus. The sperm preparation for IUI at ART is performed in one of our lab facilities with a highly trained andrology technician.  The IUI is performed in one of our exam rooms much like a Pap smear examination. A speculum is inserted in the vagina, the cervix is visualized, and the IUI catheter with a syringe containing the prepped IUI specimen is injected into the uterus through the cervical canal. The procedure takes only a few seconds to perform in most cases. The sperm will be active in the fallopian tubes within seconds of the IUI procedure, thus helping the sperm and egg find each other and encourage fertilization of the egg by the inseminated sperm.

IUI is very different from more advanced fertility procedures such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In our IVF lab, an individual egg can be fertilized with an individual sperm cell under a microscope in a procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). This type of technology may be more appropriate for couples when the sperm count is severely low. Because of the technology involved, pregnancy rates with IVF/ICSI can be significantly higher for many couples as compared to IUI. However, because IUI involves less technology, it is a much less expensive option than IVF for most couples.

IUI may be an appropriate fertility treatment for couples with many conditions such as:

  • Mildly decreased sperm count
  • Decreased sperm motility (swimming ability)
  • Donor sperm treatments
  • Male sexual dysfunction
  • Cervical factor infertility
  • Difficulty timing intercourse due to a couple’s work schedules
  • Unexplained infertility

Successful outcomes with IUI treatments depend on many factors such as the initial sperm count before the IUI prep is performed, the age of the couple, the status of the woman’s fallopian tubes, and the type of treatment medication the female patient may be using for ovulation.

ART can perform IUIs in the Birmingham office, as well as in our satellite locations in Montgomery, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa. Donor sperm insemination can be performed in Birmingham for any of our patients living in communities outside of Birmingham. If you are interested in discussing IUI treatments with one of our physicians, please call 1-800-476-9784 to schedule an appointment.

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