IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), also known as artificial insemination, is a fertility treatment in which sperm is washed (processed) and placed directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation. Since IUI is often the first step for those in need of reproductive assistance, it could be an option if you’re diagnosed with unexplained infertility, in a same-sex partnership using donor sperm, experiencing male infertility, or wanting to be a single parent.

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An IUI cycle may be natural (unmedicated) or medicated, also known as an ovulation induction (OI) cycle. A medicated IUI cycle may include oral medications, such as Clomid or letrozole. These medications stimulate the ovaries to ovulate if a woman does not do so on her own or to produce more than one egg in a given cycle.

Timing insemination around ovulation is critical for achieving pregnancy success. In order to determine when you will ovulate, you and your physician will monitor your cycle using either ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) at home or by coming into the office for transvaginal ultrasounds. The OPKs help your doctor detect the natural surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) before ovulation. The transvaginal ultrasound looks for a growing follicle (which contains the egg). When the follicle reaches the right size, an additional medication called Ovidrel is used to trigger ovulation. Most IUIs are performed within 24-48 hours after the LH surge is detected or ovidrel is given.

During IUI, fresh semen from a male partner or frozen sperm from a partner or sperm donor go through a process known as sperm washing. Sperm washing helps to ensure that only the highest quality sperm are used during the procedure, by separating the strongest, healthiest sperm from the seminal fluid. Once separated, these high-quality sperm are isolated into concentrated batches. The sperm washing process takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete. Using a sterile medium, the sperm can be safely stored for up to 24 hours in a laboratory incubator (frozen washed sperm can be stored for years).

During the IUI procedure, a speculum is placed in the vagina and, using a thin catheter, the concentrated sperm solution is transferred into the top of the uterus (where the fallopian tubes enter). The patient experience is often described as being comparable to a PAP smear. While there may be some mild discomfort due to the speculum, the patient is unlikely to feel the catheter as it enters the uterus. Some patients may experience mild cramping following the IUI.

Once the procedure is finished, you will be asked to remain in a relaxed position for at least five minutes. Patients are able to resume normal physical activities, including sexual intercourse, on the same day as the procedure. Two weeks after insemination, the patient will be asked to take a pregnancy test.

RMA of New York Team

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Why RMA of New York: IUI

RMA of New York serves as the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Mount Sinai Medical System. Our laboratory team is dedicated to scientific discovery, graduate medical education through RMA of NY’s REI Fellowship Program, and individualized care that focuses on you.

Our team of embryologists are consistently recognized as innovators in reproductive science and medicine, and security and safety standards. RMA of New York has been at the forefront of embryo freezing technology and cutting-edge research, helping countless individuals and partners achieve the dream of building a family.

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