What Is IUI And Can You Do It At Home?

In this article you will read about:

  • What is IUI?
  • At-Home IUI.
  • Using Donor Sperm in IUI.
  • Does IUI Hurt?
  • How Much IUI Cost?
  • Risks of IUI?

What is IUI?

IUI Pregnancy. Photo Credits: freepik.com
IUI is short for intrauterine insemination. It can also be referred to as donor insemination, alternative insemination, or artificial insemination. IUI is done by putting sperm cells directly into the uterus when the female is ovulating, helping the sperm reach the eggs easier. This process shortens the distance and the time sperm has to travel, so it is easier to fertilize the egg. Before having an IUI, you may take fertility drugs that will stimulate ovulation.

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Your partner or donor will give a semen sample that has to go through a procedure named “sperm washing” which filters the semen and collects only the healthy sperm from the semen. Next, your doctor puts the sperm right into your uterus. If sperm fertilizes your egg and the fertilized egg implants in the lining of your uterus you are pregnant and the procedure was successful. The insemination is done at your doctor’s office or at a fertility clinic and should last about 5-10 minutes. It’s pretty fast, and you don’t require anesthesia. 

IUI is a simple fertility procedure that can increase your chances to get pregnant and it is also less expensive than other as IVF. As everybody’s fertility case is different, it does not guarantee that it will get you pregnant. 

Before deciding if IUI is right for you, it can be helpful to understand the broader Reproductive System and the Fertility Treatment landscape.

Can you do At-Home Insemination?

It is possible to do the insemination at home, it is more convenient and private, and you don't have to rely on your insurance company and the cost for the insemination kit is lower. You will need a semen sample from your partner or a donor and an at-home IUI kit that comes with ovulation predictor materials, a plastic syringe, and a plunger to insert the semen into the uterus. 

If you use frozen donor sperm you will have to tawn it to room temperature before use and if you use fresh semen, use it in the first 30 minutes for best results. The steps are easy. Lay on you back and insert the plastic syringe into your vagina pushing carefully until it stops and aim at your cervix. Empty the syringe and that’s it.

Even though the procedure itself is not that difficult, the success rates are higher if done in-office by a specialized doctor, and also much safer to do in a sterilized environment. 

Is it Safe to Use Donor Sperm?

Yes, because by law sperm donors are tested for a number of diseases before being allowed to donate, the illnesses include:

  • anti-HIV
  • HbsAg
  • Anti-HBc
  • Anti-HCV-AB
  • VDRL
  • HTLV-I
  • RhD antigen
  • CMV
  • trypanosomiasis
  • malaria

How Much Does IUI Cost? 

IUI is mostly less expensive than other fertility procedures, like IVF.  In general, it costs around $300-$1,000 without insurance. In some cases, your insurance may cover it fully or partially.

Success Rates in IUI

What is IUI. Photo Credits: freepik.com
There is generally a 10 to 20 percent chance of pregnancy with one IUI cycle if you are also taking fertility medicine, without them the chances drop significantly. The more cycles of IUI you get, the higher the chance is for you to get pregnant. With 3 to 6 cycles of IUI, pregnancy rates can grow to 80 percent. 

Does IUI Hurt?

If done properly the IUI procedure will only take a few minutes and it doesn’t hurt. You can experience some mild discomfort when the speculum is inserted, or you can have some cramping when the catheter passes through the cervix. This is temporary and the discomfort should be gone after the procedure.

When you Should Stop IUI and Try IVF Instead?

For women under 35 IUI is usually the first fertility treatment recommended, because it's the least invasive and affordable. It is recommended to do 3 to 6 rounds of IUI before IVF. 

If IUI isn't for you, other treatments are available. Get an overview of costs for IVF with our IVF Price Comparison In Different Countries.

Is the Miscarriage Rate Higher with IUI?

Miscarriage rates are not higher due to IUI, but rather they are higher in women with fertility issues, including those who try IUI. But a single miscarriage does not increase your chances of having the second one so you can keep trying.

Risks of IUI

Intrauterine insemination is generally a simple and safe treatment with low risks that can include:

Infection. There's a small chance of infection as a result of the procedure. 

Spotting. You can experience a small amount of vaginal bleeding due to catheter insertion. This doesn’t negatively affect pregnancy.

Multiple pregnancies. IUI isn't associated with an increased risk of multiple pregnancies(twins, triplets, or more babies). But ovulation-inducing medications can increase the chances of having more than one baby with the pregnancy. Multiple pregnancies have higher risks than a single one, like early labor and low birth weight.

Fertility Medications Side Effects

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Nausea, headaches, or visual disturbances
  • Swollen and painful ovaries, sometimes due to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Pelvic discomfort, breast tenderness, or bloating
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Swelling or a rash due to injections

Fertility medication side effects can vary from person to person, so it’s their severeness. The symptoms should disappear once the medication is stopped. Always check your symptoms and reactions with your fertility doctor.

Check out Fertility Treatment Packages offered by clinics around the world on our platform to find a treatment that fits your needs.