What you can expect

The visit for intrauterine insemination takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is usually done in a doctor's office or clinic. The IUI procedure itself takes just a minute or two and requires no medications or pain relievers. Your doctor or a specially trained nurse performs the procedure.

During the procedure

While lying on an exam table, you'll put your legs into stirrups and a speculum will be inserted into your vagina — similar to what you experience during a Pap test. During the procedure, the doctor or nurse:

  • Attaches a vial containing a sample of healthy sperm to the end of a long, thin, flexible tube (catheter)
  • Inserts the catheter into your vagina, through your cervical opening and into your uterus
  • Pushes the sperm sample through the tube into your uterus
  • Removes the catheter, followed by the speculum

After the procedure

After insemination, you'll be asked to lie on your back for a brief period. Once the procedure is over, you can get dressed and go about your normal daily activities. You may experience some light spotting for a day or two after the procedure.

June 21, 2016
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  4. Ginsburg ES. Procedure for intrauterine insemination (IUI) using processed sperm. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 8, 2016.
  5. Intrauterine insemination (IUI). ReproductiveFacts.org. http://www.reproductivefacts.org/awards/detail.aspx?id=8576 Accessed April 18, 2016.
  6. Luco SM, et al. The evaluation of pre and post processing semen analysis parameters at the time of intrauterine insemination in couples diagnosed with male factor infertility and pregnancy rates based on stimulation agent. A retrospective cohort study. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. 2014;179:159.
  7. Hornstein MD, et al. Unexplained infertility. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 18, 2016.
  8. Coddington III CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 18, 2016.