Therapeutic Procedures

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the technique in which prepared sperm are directly deposited into the uterus through the cervix. This procedure places the sperm closer to the fallopian tubes where fertilization takes place.

Prior to an IUI, the semen to be used during the procedure must be prepared; this is commonly referred to as Sperm Washing. In this process, the semen sample is washed free of debris, white blood cells, and the seminal fluid that contains prostaglandins, which can cause the uterus to contract. The processing also concentrates the sperm in a nutrient media, to a small volume which can easily be handled by the uterus. There are two main types of Sperm Washing used at Virginia IVF and Andrology Center, the simple Sperm Wash and the Sperm Isolation.

Semen washing is a procedure in which a semen specimen is prepared for IUI. The main purpose for washing semen is to remove the seminal plasma from the ejaculate and concentrate all of the sperm into a small volume for insemination into either the cervix or uterus.

Sperm isolation is a procedure in which the motile sperm is separated from the seminal plasma by using a special medium to isolate sperm from the seminal plasma. This procedure will usually produce a sample enriched with motile sperm and minimal particulate contamination. The specimen is then concentrated into a small volume for insemination into either the cervix or uterus.

The actual IUI procedure will be performed at your physician's office around the time of ovulation. On the day of the IUI procedure, the Andrology Laboratory at Virginia IVF and Andrology Center will specially prepare the fresh semen sample to be used for the IUI. That prepared specimen can then be picked up by the patient to take to the IUI procedure. For your added convenience, the Andrology Laboratory can arrange for your processed sample to be delivered to your physician’s office. The courier service is available weekdays for an additional fee.