When it comes to getting pregnant — there isn’t just one way. Traditionally, we’re taught about sexual intercourse between one partner with a penis and one partner with a vagina, but there’s also in vitro fertilization (IVF) and donor insemination — which includes intracervical insemination (ICI) and intrauterine insemination (IUI).
The animation above by Jenna Brown of Love Over Fear Wellness and Birth gives us the 411 on Intrauterine Insemination, specifically. If you’d rather read than watch or you’d like to do both, we’ve also added the transcript below.
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a conception method in which insemination happens within the uterus, beyond the cervix. IUI is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by a provider in a medical setting, or at home.
IUI is an option for people who have a uterus and a menstrual cycle, and who also have access to sperm, which could be from a partner or a donor.
In either case, the sperm may be fresh, or it may have been stored or banked. Because during IUI, sperm will not be exposed to cervical mucous, it must be prepared by a professional during a process called “washing.”
IUI is performed using a needless syringe and a catheter A provider will draw the prepared sperm up into the syringe And then, guide the catheter through the vagina and cervix into the uterus, usually using a speculum and sometimes also a tenaculum for guidance, Remember, Intrauterine means within the uterus.
IUI is timed with a person’s cycle in order to increase the chances that sperm will reach the egg in the fallopian tube and fertilization will occur.
Planned Parenthood, Resolve (National Infertility Association), Attain Fertility, American Pregnancy Association, American Society for Reproductive Medicine