Artificial Insemination process

Artificial Insemination treatment

Artificial Insemination (AI) is a fertility procedure in which prepared sperm (washed sperm) is inserted into a woman’s uterus directly, to improve the chances of conceiving.

This procedure involves the use of sperm that is either fresh (from the partner) or frozen (from the partner or a donor).

Artificial insemination is also known as most commonly used is Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI).

If you’re having difficulty falling pregnant, or are just exploring the options available to make parenthood a reality, we are here to help. We’ll work with you to explore possible solutions and set you on the right path to achieving your dream of having a baby.


Artificial Insemination – IUI: step-by-step guide

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Artificial Insemination or IUI treatment procedure

What to expect during an IUI cycle

IUI involves preparing or “washing” the sperm, which is then gently inserted into the uterine cavity using a speculum and a disposable catheter to bypass the cervix.

There are three IUI treatment options:

  1. Natural cycle insemination – This option does not involve any medication and follows the woman’s natural menstrual cycle. It may be used for couples who are unable to have natural intercourse. It is not a recommended method for women whose partners have poor sperm quality.
  2. CC ovulation induction – This option involves the use of medication to stimulate the ovaries and cause or regulate ovulation. This medication in combination with IUI has been shown to increase pregnancy rates in comparison to natural cycle insemination.
  3. FSH ovulation induction – Ovarian stimulation is stronger with this option and has been shown to increase pregnancy rates over a natural cycle and CC insemination cycles. Regular monitoring is required to minimise complications relating to overstimulation.

A washed and concentrated sample of sperm is then placed, via a soft catheter, directly into the uterus. This minimises the distance for the sperm to travel to meet and fertilise the egg. This is timed to occur on the day you ovulate – either naturally or, more commonly, with ovulation induction. The best pregnancy results are achieved using the CC or FSH treatments.


Sperm selection 

The technique of sperm preparation or “washing” involves separation of the seminal plasma from the spermatozoa and concentration of the more morphologically normal and motile sperm for insemination. This is carried out by our scientists at CFC.



The actual insemination is quite simple and painless – many women describe it as being similar to a Pap smear. The entire procedure takes just a few minutes.

Your treating specialist or a fertility coordinator usually performs the insemination procedure, and male partners (if applicable) are welcome to attend. Normal daily activities can be resumed immediately afterwards.

Your pregnancy test is performed two weeks after the insemination. It is important to look after yourself at that time.

The time between the insemination and your pregnancy test is often emotionally charged with expectation and anxiety. We understand that this can be a difficult time and encourage you to contact your clinic for support if you are finding it especially hard to deal with the stress of waiting.

If the procedure is unsuccessful, we encourage you to have a follow-up appointment with your fertility specialist. At this appointment, plans for further treatment can be made and any questions answered.

After two or three unsuccessful IUI attempts, it is recommended that consideration is given to an In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) cycle after consultation with your treating specialist.

When is Artificial Insemination recommended?

Artificial Insemination is recommended for couples experiencing any of the following:

  • Unexplained infertility.
  • Mild endometriosis.
  • Ovulatory disorder responsive to fertility medication.
  • Problems with intercourse, but potentially normal sperm production.
  • Male partner is absent for long periods – sperm may be frozen.
  • Hostile cervical mucus.


IUI can also be recommended in cases where a woman or couple needs donor sperm.

Donor sperm is also needed in cases where the husband/partner:

  • Is azoospermic (no sperm produced).
  • Is a carrier of a hereditary disease.
  • Has HIV.
  • Is unable to produce sperm.

Donor sperm is also used for Donor Insemination (DI) cycles for single women or same-sex couples. Please read our fact sheet:  Donor Insemination to learn more about this treatment option, or visit our Using sperm from a sperm donor page for further information.


Artificial Insemination or IUI treatment is not recommended for:

  • Women over 38 years of age.
  • Women with tubal blockage or severe tubal damage.
  • Women with severe endometriosis.
  • Cases where the male partner has a markedly abnormal semen assesment.

What are the potential risks associated with Artificial Insemination (or IUI)?

  • Infection – This may be more common among women with a history of pelvic infection.
  • Overstimulation – Some women may experience an excessive response by their ovaries to the fertility drugs. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) occurs in a minority of women who over-respond. Symptoms include severe discomfort, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distension and dehydration. It is important that you notify the clinic immediately if any of these symptoms occur during your treatment, as hospitalisation may be required.
  • Multiple pregnancy – If there are too many follicles seen on ultrasound before the IUI is carried out, the risk of multiple pregnancy may be too high and the procedure may be cancelled.
  • Failed procedure – In a small number of cases, it is not possible to place the catheter into position through the cervix, and the sperm cannot be inserted into the uterine cavity.

Cost of Artificial Insemination or IUI treatment

As each treatment cycle is structured to suit individual needs, costs can vary depending on the level of service required. For more details on exact fees and other information relating to the IUI procedure or any other fertility treatment option, please contact City Fertility fertility coordinators.


To find out more about Artificial Insemination – IUI, please read our fact sheets: IUI using partner’s sperm, Donor Insemination or visit our Patient information booklets page and download the Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) PDF.


At-Home Insemination Options Available

City Fertility is proud to announce the launch of InSEM Fertility Solutions, a fully dedicated Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) clinic in Australia. 

At InSEM, you have the option to have the insemination procedure performed by our experienced team at the InSEM clinic, or you can choose to do it in the comfort and privacy of your own home with the InSEM Kit.

With InSEM, the process is simple & affordable with donor sperm available now – each procedure takes only 15-20 min.

InSEM is here to empower you to make informed fertility choices through all the stages of your journey to parenthood – with expert clinical guidance and medical support.

Our first InSEM clinic is located in Brisbane, QLD and appointments are now available. To learn more, visit our website




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