What is IUI and Can It Help Me?

IUI is a common fertility procedure at RMA of Northern California

If you’re new to fertility treatment in San Francisco, you might be trying to make sense of all the new acronyms you’re suddenly being asked to understand. Undoubtedly, one of them is IUI, or Intrauterine Insemination.

At Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California (RMANorCal) – with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto – IUI is a common occurrence. Drs. Scott Morin and Jonathan Kort routinely perform the procedure, which is one of the first lines of treatment for couples struggling to conceive.

Here’s everything you need to know about IUI.

What is an IUI?

An IUI is a very common and simple fertility procedure. Done inside your fertility doctor’s office, the procedure’s main purpose is to facilitate the meeting of sperm and egg for fertilization. In the days leading up to the procedure, a woman often takes medication that will help her grow and release 2-3 mature eggs. She will also come to the office for a few quick ultrasound visits so the doctor can monitor her progress. Then, on the day that eggs are ready to be released, the doctor will insert sperm from the woman’s partner into her uterus using a thin catheter. Then, it is the job of the sperm and egg to meet naturally and create a pregnancy.

Who is IUI for?

Many couples experiencing infertility will begin with an IUI. In particular, women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and men with mild male factor infertility can benefit from this treatment. The reason an IUI is effective in both cases is because it makes it easier for sperm and the egg to meet. By placing the sperm inside the uterus, an IUI allows sperm to avoid having to swim through the cervical opening and into the uterus on their own, a step that can be a barrier for some couples. Women with PCOS do not ovulate regularly, so by using medications that help women to ovulate, in combination with an IUI, many couples can achieve pregnancy.

Does IUI work?

For cases of mild infertility, an IUI is a good bet. In cases of severe male factor, severe endometriosis, diminished ovarian reserve, or other more advanced infertility diagnosis, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a better option. As a first-line treatment, however, IUI is an effective procedure that has helped create many families around the world. A fertility work-up can help you understand whether IUI is right for you.


If you are struggling with infertility and want to know more about treatment options, book a consultation with Dr. Kort or Dr. Morin. Call the San Francisco office at (415) 603-6999 to speak to one of our patient liaisons and get started today.