what is AN iui?


IUI stands for intrauterine insemination. The treatment usually involves a woman taking hormones to produce 2-3 eggs. The lab prepares the man’s sperm sample. A provider uses a soft plastic catheter to insert the washed sperm directly into the woman's uterus. The extra eggs and sperm increase the chances they will find each other and become an embryo.

A mother holding up and kissing her baby.

Understanding IUI


POMA Fertility carefully monitors treatment to find the best time for insemination.

We perform our procedures with ultrasound for gentle and accurate sperm placement in the uterus.

We plan cycle adjustments for the next treatment if pregnancy does not occur.

We allow partners to accompany patients for the procedure.

We treat single women and LGBTQ+ patients.

Many couples struggle becoming pregnant. IUI successfully treats mild infertility issues.

Unexplained Infertility: The most common use for IUI is when we find no cause for infertility. The goal is to increase the chance of pregnancy by putting more sperm in contact with more eggs.

Cervical Stenosis or Abnormalities: IUI helps when a woman’s cervix develops a small opening that prevents the sperm from entering via the vagina.

Sperm Delivery Problems: IUI helps couples when the male partner suffers from erectile dysfunction or ejaculation. IUI helps men with sperm released backward into the bladder (retrograde ejaculation). Prior surgery or medical conditions cause retrograde ejaculation. IUI may help men with an abnormal opening (urethra).

Lack of Ovulation (Anovulation): Women who do not release an egg (ovulate) become pregnant with hormones and natural intercourse. Sometimes, IUI may help.

Fertility Preservation: Men may collect and freeze their sperm for future use before a vasectomy, testicular surgery, or cancer treatment. Frozen sperm requires IUI or IVF.

Third-Party Reproduction: Therapeutic Donor Insemination (TDI) involves using donated sperm from a sperm bank. TDI needs IUI because frozen-thawed sperm is less successful if injected into the cervix. TDI helps when the male partner has either no sperm or such poor-quality sperm that IUI and IVF are not options. Men with certain genetic diseases use TDI to prevent passing the gene mutation to his children. Single women or lesbian couples who want to have a baby also use TDI.

To learn more about working with POMA Fertility, please schedule your consultation today, or give us a call at 425.822.7662


Most women use hormone medication to increase the number of ovulated eggs called Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH) with IUI. We monitor the medication effectiveness by transvaginal ultrasound exam for follicle development. We trigger ovulation with HCG to place the sperm into the uterus as close as possible to ovulation. Semen processing requires 1-2 hours. Once collected, the sperm lab prepares the semen sample by removing the seminal fluid. The lab concentrates the sperm in a small amount of culture media We perform IUI near the time of ovulation. The woman comes to the clinic with a full bladder. The full bladder straightens the uterus making catheter placement easier. The IUI procedure takes only a few minutes. We use a speculum to see the cervix. Under trans-abdominal ultrasound guidance, the provider inserts a catheter through the cervix into the uterus. They slowly inject the washed sperm sample. Most women find the IUI procedure painless. Occasionally, women experience mild cramps.

Does IUI work?


IUI can occur every month with fresh or frozen sperm. About 90% of pregnancies happen in the first 3-4 attempts. Success rates depend mostly on using fertility medications, the woman’s age, and the cause of infertility. IUI works best with unexplained infertility, cervix factors, and men unable to ejaculate. IUI doubles success compared to no treatment for many patients. IUI does not work as well for men who produce few sperm or have severe sperm abnormalities. IUI does not help women with severe fallopian tube disease, significant endometriosis, or prior pelvic infections. IVF works better for these patients.

What factors affect IUI outcomes?


Female age and ovarian reserve testing results influence IUI and all infertility treatment results. Unexplained or ovulatory infertility diagnoses have the highest success rates. Oral medications (Letrozole or Clomid) are just as effective as FSH injections but less expensive and fewer multiple births. Ovarian stimulation improves success rate over natural cycles. A single well-timed IUI is just as effective as 2 inseminations per cycle. Over 90% of pregnancies occur within the first 3-4 cycles. Combining multiple collections into a single IUI does not improve IVF success rates. Success rates drop when the total motile sperm count is <1-5 million. Poor semen quality (motility <30%, morphology-shape <5%) decreases IUI success. Pelvic adhesions or significant endometriosis decrease success rates by decreasing tubal egg capture from the ovary.

What risks happen with IUI?


If a woman takes fertility medications to increase the number of eggs that ovulate, then she increases her chance of multiple pregnancy. IUI itself does not increase the risk of birth defects. Birth defects occur in about 4% of naturally conceived children. Infertility may increase the birth defect risk to 5-6%. The risk of an infection after an IUI is small.