Artificial Insemination (IUI)

Artificial insemination, also known as intrauterine insemination (IUI), is a technique that involves placing sperm inside the woman’s uterus with a catheter to achieve fertilization. Unlike IVF, artificial insemination does not require the collection of eggs from the ovaries or fertilization outside the body.

Atlantic Reproductive, a leading fertility clinic in Raleigh, NC, specializes in fertility treatments, including artificial insemination. Our practice is known for providing comprehensive and compassionate care — and the IUI process must be performed by a licensed medical professional.

IUI Process for Our Raleigh-area Patients

Intrauterine insemination is a painless process that takes place in our clinic over the course of a few minutes. It’s done at the time of peak ovulation. So, how does it work?

First, sperm that has been washed is injected into the uterus. Washed sperm is used because the washing process strips semen of certain chemicals that can irritate the uterine tissue and reduce the IUI success rate. This can be sperm from a partner or from a sperm donor.

After injection occurs, the woman will spend a few minutes lying down and resting on the table in order to maximize the IUI success rate.

Watch the video to learn more. The transcript is below.

Form a Relationship & Work with Our Raleigh, NC Fertility Doctors

Over the years, Dr. David Walmer and Dr. Susannah Copland have helped hundreds of patients add to their families through artificial insemination. To see if IUI is a good option for you, contact Atlantic Reproductive Center today to schedule an appointment. We regularly see patients from all over the Triangle, including Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville and beyond!

Transcript of video about IUI

So when you meet with your patients to talk about all the different fertility tools we have to offer, there’s a lot of different options. There are a lot of different initials we throw around: IUI, INVOcell, IVF. If we start with IUI, what do you tell your patients about IUI?

I start with IUI is an acronym for intrauterine insemination. It’s for a selected group of patients. Sperm have to get through two barriers to get into the upper reproductive tract. 90% of the sperm never get out of the vagina, another 90% don’t get out of the cervix, so it’s one way of correcting low sperm numbers and enhancing that. It’s also a way of improving morphology because of the washing technique that’s done. The technique involves putting the sperm through a gradient and separating the liquid portion of the sperm from the cells. The liquid-if even one drop of that got into the uterus, the woman would have severe reactions, fever, cramping. So, it’s important to separate those two things. But it can put the sperm directly into the uterus.

Once the sperm’s been processed, we load it into a catheter, and there’s a speculum in the vagina which exposes the cervix. You can thread the IUI catheter into the cervix or through the cervical canal and then into the upper cavity. When you deposit the sperm in the upper uterus, you’ve essentially increased the sperm count by a factor of 50-fold.

So you’ve washed the sperm so that the ejaculate is no longer there. You’ve bypassed one barrier that may be making it hard for that sperm to get to the woman’s eggs.

So, Susannah, how do you help your patients decide if they’re a good candidate for IUI?

For IUI to work, you have to have a sperm sample that’s high enough that it can get through the washing process and still have a good number of sperm to put up into the uterus and open Fallopian tubes. Because the only barrier that is going to be bypassed with IUI is the cervical mucus barrier. Because the sperm still has to swim up the Fallopian tube and the egg still has to be grabbed by the Fallopian tube. They have to meet there and make their way back to the uterus. So when patients have completed their fertility workup, and they have a reasonable semen analysis, everything from normal to just a little bit abnormal, and they have open tubes, I talk to them about the data that shows that 1 in 4 couples will get pregnant, in up to three inseminations.

If they are pregnant in those three inseminations, then we’ve gotten to the goal. If they’re not pregnant, then we know that we must have another barrier. Either the eggs and sperm aren’t finding each other, or the eggs and sperm are not interacting appropriately to achieve a fertilized embryo, or the fertilized embryo is not of the quality that is able to get to the uterus to make an implantation to make an ongoing pregnancy. So, we would talk about other tools we could use, such as INVOcell or IVF.