Intrauterine and artificial insemination (IUI and AI) for infertility

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the flushing of specially washed sperm through a thin flexible tube (catheter) directly into the uterus.

Artificial insemination (AI) is the placement of sperm into a woman's cervix or vagina. The sperm then travel into the uterus and fallopian tubes, where they may fertilize an egg.

See an illustration of the female reproductive system.

Insemination procedures:

  • Can be done with sperm from the male partner or a donor.
  • Are conducted during the most fertile part of a woman's cycle (ovulation).
  • Can be combined with superovulation (medication or hormone treatment that promotes multiple egg production) to increase the chances of conception.
  • Do not require surgery.

Insemination procedures can improve your chances of conceiving a pregnancy, especially when combined with superovulation treatment.

Last Updated: March 21, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA & Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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