IUI – otherwise known as Intrauterine Insemination or ‘artificial insemination’ – is a type of fertility treatment that encourages pregnancy by placing prepared, quality sperm close to the egg for fertilisation.
It involves placing partner sperm, or donor sperm, into your uterus around the same time you naturally ovulate. You can take a pregnancy test two weeks later.
IUI is usually performed without the use of fertility medication, with a typical cycle of treatment taking just four weeks.
IUI may be advised if:
- You have ovulation problems – IUI can be used in conjunction with fertility drugs to boost the number of eggs you produce
- You have unexplained infertility. In order for IUI to be successful, there must be enough healthy, motile sperm available and the fallopian tubes must be open and healthy, with no blockages. If not, IVF may be a more suitable course of treatment
- You are using donor sperm
- Your partner has previously frozen his sperm
We first need to ensure that IUI is suitable for you. This involves you testing for ovulation at home across a couple of cycles prior to treatment, using an ovulation prediction kit, so we know if you are ovulating or will need fertility medications. We assess your risk of having tubal problems, discuss whether a fallopian tube test is needed, and, if you have a partner, check his sperm for any issues.
Your fertility consultant will explain your personal treatment process and provide you with a fully costed and transparently-priced treatment plan.
IUI is usually performed in a natural cycle, using the egg you ovulate each month. Or we can use fertility drugs if you have irregular ovulation. We will be able to identify when you have ovulated, so IUI is performed at exactly the right time.
Preparing sperm for insemination
Sperm is washed and prepared. Sperm washing is a process where sperm is separated from the seminal fluid. After washing, only the most active sperm remain and any chemicals or fluid that may interfere with fertilisation have been removed.
The washed sperm is gently inserted into the uterus using a fine catheter. This is a simple, painless and quick procedure. After IUI you do not need to stay in the clinic, although you are welcome to rest for a short while.
You can take a pregnancy test two weeks later. Our midwife will support you during this time. If your pregnancy test is positive, we’ll arrange for your first pregnancy scan at our clinic. Although some women achieve pregnancy straight away through IUI, it is not unusual to need more than one cycle of insemination.
A cycle of IUI with partner sperm at Manchester Fertility costs £900*. This includes:
- Ovulation monitoring
- Sperm washing and preparation
- IUI procedure
- Pregnancy scan
If you are using donor sperm, a cycle of donor sperm insemination costs from £1500*. This includes:
- Your choice of donor sperm
- Donor matching
- Ovulation monitoring
- Preparation of donor sperm
- Insemination procedure
- Pregnancy scan or follow-up consultation
- HFEA licence fee
Or you can choose to fund your IUI cycle through a package, which gives you fixed-cost peace of mind and up to three insemination cycles. We have packages for IUI treatment with partner and donor sperm but if you’d like to review our prices for treatments take a look.
* You will be given a full breakdown of your IUI treatment costs at your consultation.
A typical natural cycle of insemination takes around four weeks, including pinpointing ovulation and pregnancy test.
Some women do conceive first time through IUI but it is not uncommon to need more than one cycle of insemination to achieve pregnancy. If IUI Is unsuccessful a number of times, your consultant will review your cycle and treatment path, and may advise further tests, to see if there are any changes that can be made to improve your chances of success. It could be that IVF is a better option for you.
IVF does have higher success rates per cycle, but many patients will start with IUI if they are using donor sperm. Your consultant will advise if you can try IUI to conceive or if you would be better to start with IVF.