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Family Planning 101: ​​What is IUI?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of several fertility options for anyone interested in carrying a child. If you’ve been researching family planning solutions that are less-invasive and cost-effective, it’s possible that you’ve at least thought about IUI.

What is IUI?

IUI is an artificial insemination procedure used to help people who are unable to conceive through intercourse create a child. It involves injecting someone who has a uterus with hormones that stimulate the ovaries so that they produce multiple eggs. 

During the IUI procedure, sperm is placed directly into the uterus. It's used for infertility in instances where the fallopian tubes are blocked or there’s a concern about ovulation. It is important to note that many people undergoing IUI are given hormones or medication to induce ovulation or increase the number of eggs that are ovulated each month, which could increase costs or boost your chances of having more than one child per pregnancy. Although many people undergoing fertility treatment welcome the idea of having twins or even more babies, in reality, having multiples could introduce complications for the carrier and the babies.


IUI and IVF are both treatments for infertility, but there are differences between them that could make one a better option for you than the other.

IUI is generally less expensive than IVF because it requires no surgery. This makes IUI cheaper in the long run when compared to other fertility treatments. However, depending on how many times you try IUI before trying IVF, your costs may increase significantly over time due to the additional visits and tests needed during an IUI cycle.

The other main difference between IUI and IVF is the circumstances around which egg fertilization takes place. With IUI, the sperm is injected directly into the uterus; if fertilization is successful, the embryo implants there as well. During IVF, fertilization takes place outside of the uterus in a lab.

How long does IUI take?

The IUI procedure is simple and quick – the actual doctor’s visit takes only about 20 minutes. The doctor will place the sperm and then equip you to monitor the process over the next few days. Some people may have to take time off work or school if they plan to have IUI done at a fertility clinic.  

How much does IUI cost?

The cost of IUI depends on the clinic and your insurance. The average price is between $300 to $1,000 per cycle, but it can vary widely depending on your doctor and what kind of coverage you have. If you're getting multiple IUIs, the price may be higher than IVF.

Treatment cycles of IUI

IUI is a process that uses sperm and an egg to create an embryo. It can be used alone or with artificial insemination. IUI aims to produce a pregnancy by stimulating ovulation, which occurs when an egg is released from the ovary. IUI requires one person’s sperm to be injected into the intended carrier.

Some people undergoing IUI may be put on medication by their doctor in order to improve their chances of getting pregnant. Fertility drugs like letrozole or clomid could be prescribed, as could gonadotropins. Gonadotropin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate ovulation.

How to pay for IUI

If you’re just starting to research how best to begin your family-building process, you may be a bit caught off-guard by the costs of procedures like IVF, or by the cost and time involved in the surrogacy and adoption processes.

The good news is that IUI is usually less expensive than other fertility treatments, like IVF. In general, one IUI cycle costs about $300-$1,000 without insurance – and depending on the state in which you live and the insurance you or your partner has, the costs may be even less. Though, as you set your savings goals, keep in mind that you might need to pay for medication and other prenatal care.

Risks & Benefits

Risks of IUI include:

•Multiple pregnancies - Increased risk of multiple pregnancies, particularly when used in combination with fertility medications.

•Complications - Potential complications from fertility medications, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

•Conception - Lower chances of conception compared to IVF.

Benefits of IUI include:

•Cost - Lower cost and less invasive compared to other assisted reproductive technologies like IVF.

•Convenience - Can be done in the privacy of a doctor’s office without the need for a hospital stay.

•Quality - Enhances sperm quality using lab methods to produce the best quality  sperm for insemination.

Resources needed for IUI include:

•Sperm, either from a partner or a donor 

•Egg inside the gestational carrier

•Fertility medications for gestational carrier

•A fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist to perform the procedure and monitor the person being fertilized

At Daylight Grow, we believe the world needs more queer parents – and we help make that happen. Whether you know you want to start or add to your family through surrogacy or you’re still exploring your options, Daylight Grow is here to help through our family planning concierge, resource center, and community dedicated to supporting queer parents as they navigate the family-building process. Learn more and join today!