Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is the placement of washed sperm into the uterus at the time of ovulation. The sperm is washed in order to increase its motility. Also, abnormal sperm, excess fluid in semen, bacteria and debris are removed. Washed sperm are more motile and, therefore, more likely to be able to fertilize an egg.

In addition, by placing the sperm directly into the uterus, the distance that the sperm need to travel to reach the egg is decreased. This is especially helpful if the male partner has a low sperm count or motility on his complete semen analysis. Other indications for IUI include unexplained infertility, lack of a male partner or coital difficulty.

By placing this concentrated sample of sperm directly into the uterus, there is no need for abundant cervical mucus. Some women have scant or absent cervical mucus which can prevent sperm from being able to travel through the female reproductive tract in an effort to achieve a pregnancy.

Either fresh or frozen sperm can be used for IUI.  Frozen sperm are thawed prior to use which will decrease the motility compared to a fresh semen sample.  Intrauterine Insemination services are provided by Women’s Fertility Center.

Open-Womens-Fertility-Center-PDF-file IUI handout
Open-Womens-Fertility-Center-PDF-file Semen Collection for IUI Instructions handout
IUI consent form


For couples with severe male factor infertility, single women or lesbian couples, using donor sperm may be a good option to maximize their chances of conceiving.  There are two types of donor sperm options:

  • Anonymous sperm donor.   This is the option that is most often chosen because it is convenient and private.  By ordering from a sperm bank you know that the donor has normal semen parameters.  He has been tested for infectious diseases and retested three months later before his sperm are released for purchase.  The donor has been screened for genetic diseases that he may be at risk for carrying based on his ethnic background.  There are many options to choose from.  Whatever your needs, the sperm bank should have a donor that meets your criteria.
  • Known sperm donor.  This is a great option if it is important for the child to have a biological link to a parent.  A brother, father or cousin can be considered since they share some of your genetic DNA.  The challenging part is that you need to ask this family member to donate his sperm and undergo infectious disease testing before the sperm can be used for IUI.  In addition, this potentially may change the family dynamics.  The sperm donor may want to be involved in the child’s life.  Alternatively, if you have a male friend become your sperm donor he, too, may want visitation or parental involvement. 

Open-Womens-Fertility-Center-PDF-fileIUI using Donor Sperm consent form