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what is an iui?

What is IUI?

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is a fertility treatment that involves placing washed and concentrated sperm directly into the woman's uterus during her fertile window. It is a less invasive and less complex procedure compared to IVF.

Who needs IUI?

IUI is often recommended for individuals or couples with certain fertility challenges, such as low sperm count or motility, mild sperm abnormalities, or cervical factor infertility (issues with the cervix affecting sperm transportation). It may also be used in cases of unexplained infertility or as a first-line treatment before considering more advanced options like IVF.

What is the IUI procedure like?

The IUI procedure begins with monitoring the woman's menstrual cycle to determine the timing of ovulation. If necessary, fertility medications may be prescribed to stimulate the development of an egg. Once the woman is ready to ovulate, the sperm sample is prepared in the laboratory to obtain a concentrated sample of high-quality sperm.

During the actual IUI procedure, a thin, flexible catheter is used to insert the prepared sperm directly into the woman's uterus. This process aims to increase the chances of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes, where fertilisation typically occurs. The procedure itself is usually quick and relatively painless, similar to a regular pelvic exam.

How is IUI different from IVF?

Compared to IVF, IUI is a simpler and less invasive procedure. While IVF involves retrieving eggs from the woman, fertilising them with sperm in the laboratory, and transferring resulting embryos back into the uterus, IUI bypasses the need for laboratory fertilisation. Instead, it focuses on optimising the conditions for natural conception by placing the sperm directly into the uterus.


IVF is typically recommended for individuals or couples who face more significant fertility challenges, such as severe male factor infertility, tubal blockages, advanced maternal age, or previous unsuccessful IUI attempts. It offers higher success rates by facilitating fertilisation in a controlled laboratory environment and allowing for the selection of the most viable embryos for transfer.

Both IUI and IVF are valuable fertility treatment options, and the choice between them depends on factors such as the underlying fertility issues, individual circumstances, and the recommendations of healthcare professionals. Consulting with a fertility specialist is essential to determine the most suitable approach for each individual or couple.

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