Learn more about Intrauterine insemination

It’s estimated that one in six couples are unable to conceive or are having trouble conceiving a child. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant without success, you have options.

Intrauterine insemination, or IUI — when sperm is placed into a woman’s reproductive system — is the most common form of artificial insemination. With IUI, the sperm is placed directly into the uterus, where it may reach the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg. This gives the sperm a shorter, more direct route to the egg.

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How Is IUI Done?

IUI uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to place the sperm directly into your uterus shortly before you ovulate —the time during your menstrual cycle when an egg is released. The catheter is inserted into your vagina, through the cervix, and then into your uterus.

IUI is done as an outpatient procedure in your doctor’s office or medical clinic. You may experience cramping or feel uncomfortable during the procedure. And you may be instructed to rest and avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day.

If you don’t ovulate regularly, your doctor may prescribe fertility drugs to stimulate your body to release one egg each month. In superovulation, fertility drugs are used to produce more than one egg each month. Successful superovulation increases the likelihood of twins, triplets, and larger multiple pregnancies, so it’s important to discuss it with your doctor.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

Your first step should be to ask your doctor if IUI is an option for you. Intrauterine insemination can be used for many types of fertility issues, including low sperm count and quality. Using IUI with medicines can be an option for women with other causes of fertility problems or when your doctor doesn’t know why you’re having trouble conceiving.

The sperm used for IUI can come from a woman’s partner or from a known or anonymous donor. This means IUI can be used by LGBT couples or women who want to get pregnant without a male partner.

IUI is one of the least invasive and most affordable artificial insemination procedures. To find out if IUI is right for you, talk to your doctor or call 412-641-1000, option 1, to schedule an appointment with the fertility experts at the Center for Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.

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For Journals and Media sources:National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. Enterovirus D68. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Link

For News sources:Dr. Amesh Adalja. A Back to School Victim-Finding Spree for Enterovirus 68. Tracking Zebra. Link

About UPMC Magee-Womens

Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.

Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.