Intracervical Insemination vs. Intrauterine Insemination | Infertility Insights

Intracervical Insemination vs. Intrauterine Insemination

Patients periodically inquire as to whether they can use washed sperm for both an intrauterine insemination (IUI) as well as an intracervical insemination (ICI).

For an intrauterine insemination (IUI), one would already be using washed sperm. Sperm washing is necessary when inserting sperm directly into the uterus because raw semen contains chemicals that cause it to contract. It also increases the probability of fertilization to place washed sperm directly into the uterus. This is because sperm washing sorts out lower quality and dead sperm, thus lowering the content of the sperm.

You could choose to buy washed sperm from a sperm bank for an intracervical insemination.

Although patients sometimes complain of cramping with IUI, it is usually short-lived. As background, IUI is the process of depositing washed sperm inside the uterine cavity. A thin catheter is used, connected to a syringe that contains the washed sperm. The catheter is introduced through the cervix and deep inside the uterus. Cramping sometimes does occur but is short-lived. Artificial insemination is commonly used with ovulation inducing medications when, for instance, there is abnormal cervical mucus.

However, due to the decreased sperm content, using washed sperm in ICI has not been shown to be effective enough to become commonly practiced. The choice is up to the patient and physician. If you have experience or questions using ICI or IUI, I’d love to hear from you.
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About the Author

Dr. Herbert is a fertility expert and an innovator in the field.