How does the IUI process work? 

Intrauterine insemination (IUI), more commonly referred to as artificial insemination, is a popular infertility treatment option. It is generally one of the first options recommended to the patients after timed intercourse and preliminary treatment with medications hasn’t worked. 

In natural conception, the sperm cells travel through the vagina, cervix, and uterus to fertilize the egg in the fallopian tube. This process can lead to the death of many sperm before they can reach the egg and that is the reason why not every sexual intercourse is destined to end in pregnancy.

IUI, on the other hand, is a type of artificial insemination where the sperm is washed and concentrated and then deposited directly in the uterus with the help of a catheter. Therefore, the sperm cells only have to travel to the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg.

The IUI Procedure 

  • Collection of the sperm.

The semen containing the sperm is collected, usually on the same day as the insemination procedure. In most cases, it is acquired through masturbation. The freshness of the sperm sample ensures better results. However, a frozen sperm sample can be thawed and used in cases of a sperm donor, or in cases where a fresh sample can’t be provided. 

  • Washing of the sperm sample.

In this process, the motile, healthy sperm cells are extracted from the collected semen. The sample is concentrated and toxic elements are removed which may otherwise cause an adverse reaction in the uterus. This procedure is also known as sperm capacitation.

  • Insemination.

It does not need the administration of anesthesia and takes only about 5-10 minutes. The woman will be asked to lie on her back and a long thin catheter will be inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. The capacitated sperm sample is then injected through the catheter directly into the uterus near the fallopian tubes. 

The procedure can based on your medical history and the reason for infertility, be of three different types:

1. The Natural IUI Cycle

The cycle is timed according to the natural menstrual cycle and is performed at the time of ovulation. No drugs or medications are used to externally stimulate ovulation. The process can be done through home ovulation predictor kits which detect the LH surge, or it can be done with the help of ultrasound monitoring in your doctor’s office. 

2. The Trigger Cycle

The ‘trigger shot’ is an injection containing HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin hormone) that is used to trigger ovulation. It mimics the function of the LH surge in a natural menstrual cycle and is given to ensure that ovulation has indeed occurred before the sperm is transferred to the uterus. Approximately 36 hours (between 24-48 hours) after the trigger shot is administered, the insemination procedure takes place. 

3. The Medicated IUI Cycle

This cycle is performed when there are irregularities with egg maturation and ovulation. Therefore, to ensure maturation, and subsequent ovulation of the eggs, medications are administered. Medications can be of two types-

  • Oral medications such as Clomid or Letrozole are prescribed to stimulate ovulation. The type and quantity of the medications are recommended by your doctor. The maturation of the eggs is monitored routinely. 
  • Injectable medications containing gonadotropins (such as FSH) can also be administered to ensure the maturation and ovulation of the eggs. This is generally considered in the face of previous failed IUI cycles or more serious ovulation problems. This process comes with the risk of resulting in multiple pregnancies if more than one egg ovulates (and fertilizes) at the same time due to the effect of the injections. 

IUI Timeline

The monitoring of the ovulation in the ovaries starts as early as day 2 of the period cycle. The monitoring of the ovulation cycle helps in evaluating which type of IUI cycle to go ahead with – whether it be natural or trigger or medicated. It also indicates the amount and type of medication to be administered, as necessary. 

In case, medicated IUI is decided, the woman is called in around day 7-9 of their period cycle to administer the medications, and subsequently in the next 2-3 days the impact of it is seen through the ultrasounds. After the trigger shot, and on the most fertile day, usually around the 12-14th day of the period cycle, the couple visits the clinic where collection and washing of the sperm are done before insemination is done for the woman. 


IUI is a mode of assisted conception. The IUI process mimics, exactly, the process of natural conception while making it more efficient. The washing of the sperm and the release of it directly into the uterus increases the chances of conceiving for the couple. 

The success rates of this procedure are typically around 15-25%, which may be higher than the chances of success in natural conception. Especially when the couple is facing some problems relating to fertility. 

Ferticare provides support for surrogacy, donor sperm, egg IVF, IUI, and natural pregnancy. Consult our medical professional if you’re experiencing trouble conceiving. 

To know more about the suitable treatment, visit and find the fertility procedure that will be most effective for you.

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