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Mon - Fri: 09:00 - 16:30
Sat: 10:00 - 13:00

Schedule an appointment:
☎ +31 (0) 71 58 12 300

For emergencies:
+31 (0) 6 25257420

✉ info[at]mckinderwens.nl

Insemination (IUI)

What is an IUI treatment?

Intra-uterine insemination, known as IUI for short, is the insertion (insemination) of processed sperm into the uterus (intra-uterine). IUI increases your chances of conceiving by inserting the most viable sperm cells into the upper region of the uterus, at the right time in your menstrual cycle. This ensures that the sperm cells are released closer to the oocyte and that they won’t need to manage to get past the barrier that is the cervix. Fertilization will take place inside the woman’s body (usually inside the fallopian tube). After fertilization, the oocyte will lodge in the uterus and the pregnancy will start to develop naturally from there. 

Intra-uterine insemination using donated sperm, known as IUI-D for short, is the insertion (insemination) of processed donated sperm into the uterus (intra-uterine). IUI can increase your chances of conception if, in case of a heterosexual couple, the man is infertile or a carrier of a hereditary disease he doesn’t want to pass on to his child. For single women and lesbian couples, IUI-D is a safe option to fulfill their desire to have children.

What is the process of an IUI treatment?

The insemination itself

Prior to the insemination, all your data (and your partner’s) is checked to ensure that there are no errors. The insemination is usually easier if the woman’s bladder is not completely empty.

After undressing, you’ll take place on the gynecological chair. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina to make sure your physician can see your cervix. A thin catheter will be inserted into the uterus and the sperm cells will enter your uterus through that. The only thing you’ll feel during this procedure is the speculum; you won’t feel the insertion of the catheter and the sperm.

After the insemination you can get dressed and leave the facility.

After the insemination

The insemination marks the start of an intense period of time. Usually, it takes between 10 and 14 days after ovulation before your menstruation starts. If menstruation hasn’t started two full weeks after the insemination, you can do a pregnancy test.

After being inseminated you can do all your daily activities. You can have sex without issue, too. We do advise you to behave as if you could be pregnant, especially regarding food and drink. We implore women to adhere to the same kinds of advice after being inseminated as they would if they were confirmed pregnant.

We discourage the use of folic acid during the period between 4 weeks prior to the insemination and 10 weeks into your pregnancy. 

Unless your treating physician tells you otherwise, if you’re not pregnant, you can start a new IUI treatment the next month.

If you’re pregnant, you can schedule an appointment with your treating nurse or physician to do a pregnancy ultrasound. This ultrasound will usually happen at around the 7th or 8th week of your pregnancy.

Emotional consequences

Attempting to conceive has as much to do with your mental and emotional state as it does with your physical body, and it’s important to pay attention to those as well. It’s always possible for you to take a break in a series of IUI treatments if you need to. In addition to that, you can always schedule an interim evaluation with your treating physician if necessary. At the MCK Fertility Center, we feel that it’s important to offer strong emotional support when it’s needed. You can simply schedule a (free) appointment with our fertility counselor.

In which cases could an IUI treatment help?

IUI treatment in a natural cycle

We recommend undergoing an IUI treatment in a natural menstrual cycle to couples in the following cases:

  • If the man has low quality sperm;
  • If they are unable to have sexual intercourse and self-insemination hasn’t led to a pregnancy;
  • If antibodies against one’s own sperm are present (the presence of these antibodies inhibits the sperm cell’s agility);
  • If the man experiences retrograde ejaculation (meaning the ejaculate will enter the bladder instead of being propelled out through the urethra).


What happens during an IUI treatment in a natural menstrual cycle?

The first step of an IUI treatment in a natural menstrual cycle is determining when the insemination should take place. The insemination will be on the same day as your ovulation, preferably just before the ovulation actually happens.

In order to determine the right moment to do the insemination, the MCK Fertility Center uses ovulation tests, also known as LH tests. These tests will predict the moment of ovulation, 24 hours before it happens. You can use these ovulation tests at home. For more information on how to use LH tests, we refer you to our information brochure on that.

When the ovulation test’s result is positive, please contact the MCK Fertility Center. You’ll then have to schedule an appointment to do the insemination the day after. In addition to scheduling the insemination, we’ll explain the best time (on the day of the insemination) for your partner to deliver the sperm to the laboratory.

We’ll only perform an ultrasound examination if the ovulation test results are unclear. After the test returns positive, it is unnecessary to repeat the test the day after. The test may still return positive, it may even be more conclusive, but this has no bearing on the rest of your treatment.

If ovulation tests don’t provide satisfactory answers, another option is to time the moment of the insemination using a hormone injection. We’ll use an injection of hCG (pregnancy hormone) to mimic the peaking LH levels measured by ovulation tests. LH instigates ovulation, so the insemination will take place between 36 and 44 hours after the injection.

The sperm must be obtained on the day of the insemination itself, through masturbation. If it takes you less than one hour to travel from your home to the fertility center, you can collect the sperm at home. If it takes longer than that or you’d prefer to collect the sperm at our facility for any other reason, we do have a room available for this purpose. The laboratory will need 1.5-2 hours to process the sperm. Therefore, there will be an appointment to deliver the sperm to the laboratory 1.5-2 hours prior to the insemination.

Please refer to our information brochure for more extensive information.

Further information

IUI treatment in a stimulated cycle

We recommend undergoing an IUI treatment in a stimulated menstrual cycle to couples in the following cases:

  • If they’re suffering from ununderstood fertility issues and their chances of conceiving naturally within the next year are low that 30%;
  • If they haven’t been able to conceive when undergoing an IUI treatment in a natural menstrual cycle.

What happens during an IUI treatment in a stimulated menstrual cycle?

The first step of an IUI treatment in a stimulated menstrual cycle is the stimulation of the ovaries, which is done through hormone injections. These injections contain a hormone known as FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This is the hormone that a woman’s brain produces in order to stimulate oocyte maturation. The injections cause your FSH levels to be higher than normal, causing several oocytes to mature at one time. The goal is to stimulate 2-3 oocytes to mature at the same time. During the ovary-stimulation phase, we’ll use ultrasound examinations to monitor oocyte growth. There are two ways we can use to time the insemination. The first is to use ovulation tests, the second is to induce ovulation using a hormone injection.

Ovulation tests, also known as LH tests, will predict the moment of ovulation, 24 hours before it happens. You can use these ovulation tests at home. For more information on how to use LH tests, we refer you to our information brochure on that.

When the ovulation test’s result is positive, please contact the MCK Fertility Center. You’ll then have to schedule an appointment to do the insemination the day after. In addition to scheduling the insemination, we’ll explain the best time (on the day of the insemination) for your partner to deliver the sperm to the laboratory.

We’ll only perform an ultrasound examination if the ovulation test results are unclear. After the test returns positive, it is unnecessary to repeat the test the day after. The test may still return positive, it may even be more conclusive, but this has no bearing on the rest of your treatment.

If ovulation tests don’t provide satisfactory answers, another option is to time the moment of the insemination using a hormone injection. We’ll use an injection of hCG (pregnancy hormone) to mimic the peaking LH levels measured by ovulation tests. LH instigates ovulation, so the insemination will take place between 36 and 44 hours after the injection.

The sperm must be obtained on the day of the insemination itself, through masturbation. If it takes you less than one hour to travel from your home to the fertility center, you can collect the sperm at home. If it takes longer than that or you’d prefer to collect the sperm at our facility for any other reason, we do have a room available for this purpose. The laboratory will need 1.5-2 hours to process the sperm. Therefore, there will be an appointment to deliver the sperm to the laboratory 1.5-2 hours prior to the insemination.

Please refer to our information brochure for more extensive information.

Risks of an IUI treatment in a stimulated menstrual cycle 

In case of an IUI treatment in a stimulated menstrual cycle, the goal is to have several oocytes mature at the same time.

If the insemination takes place after 2-3 oocytes have matured, there is a possibility that several oocytes will be fertilized at the same time. Therefore, IUI in a stimulated cycle is associated with a higher risk of a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, et cetera). It’s important that you’re aware of this, as multiple pregnancies are riskier to the health of the mother as well as the children.

There’s also the risk of being overstimulated. ‘Being overstimulated’ means that more oocytes have matured than are necessary for the treatment. Since the risk of a higher multiple pregnancy, like quadruplets or quintuplets, is increased if that happens, we will not inseminate you if too many oocytes have matured. You also should not try to conceive naturally, as such a pregnancy is dangerous both to your health and that of the children. 

Using hormones may cause side effects such as mood swings, headaches, exhaustion or nausea. The injection site may be reddened.

Further information

IUI treatment using donated sperm

We recommend undergoing an IUI treatment using donated sperm to:

  • Couples in which the man is infertile;
  • Couples where the man is a carrier of a (severe) hereditary issue;
  • Single women;
  • Lesbian couples.

IUI treatment using donated sperm

The MCK Fertility Center has an internal sperm bank. However, the demand for sperm is higher than the supply, causing waiting times of roughly a year.

Due to this, we limit single-mother applications by zip code. You can only use sperm from our sperm bank if you live in zip code area 2200-2899.

If you want to start a fertility treatment using donor sperm from our sperm bank, the first step is to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians or nurses for an intake. If so desired, you can also schedule an appointment with our fertility counselor to help guide you through the process.

If you’re eligible to use donated sperm, you’ll be added to our waiting list. You’ll be offered a donor when we have one available who suits your needs. If you accept this offer, there will be a starting consultation, during which your treating nurse or physician will explain the treatment to you in further detail.

IUI treatment using a personal donor

It’s possible to do an IUI treatment using a personal donor of your own choosing at the MCK Fertility Center.

The first step is an intake consultation with one of our physicians or nurses, and the woman or the couple intending to use the sperm. If the prospective parents are eligible for a treatment at our fertility center, we’ll schedule an intake with the donor they chose.

One of our physicians will discuss the donor’s medical history with him, as well as the reasons he decided to donate. In addition to that, both the donor and the prospective parent(s) will have a consultation with our fertility counselor.

Because of safety regulations, inseminations using donated sperm are done using frozen sperm. That way, we can prevent the transfer of infections. The donor will be screened for infectious diseases both before and after donating as dictated by current Dutch legislation. We always inspect the donated sperm to determine whether it is of high enough quality to be used in an IUI treatment. The sperm will only be used to do an insemination if the results of this screening are positive. 

You can read more about this in our information brochure on the storage of sperm for personal donors, and our information brochure on the course of action for personal donors. 

IUI treatment using sperm from a foreign sperm bank

The MCK Fertility Center often works with two foreign sperm banks (European Sperm Bank and Cryos).

The first step is an intake consultation with one of our physicians or nurses. If you’re eligible for treatment at the MCK Fertility Center, the MCK Fertility Center will provide further information on these sperm banks. The donors used at the MCK Fertility Center must be non-anonymous aka “open: donors. 

There is no waiting list to use donors from these sperm banks. 

It’s possible to enter the donated sperm into cryogenic storage at the MCK Fertility Center.

“Wet registratie donorgegevens kunstmatige bevruchting”

Since 2002, there’s been a law in the Netherlands called the ‘Wet Donorgegevens Kunstmatige Bevruchting’ (law on Donors’ Personal Details for Artificial Insemination). It states fertility centers must provide the names, dates of birth and addresses of both donors and donor sperm acceptors to the Stichting Registratie Donorgegevens (Donors’ Personal Details Registration Association). Donors need to be willing to reveal their identity if a child born from an insemination using that donor’s sperm reaches the age of 16 and wants to know. The child will need to submit that request to the Stichting.

If a child does this, the donor is allowed to present a reasoned objection, in which case a judge will decide. The law mentioned above also details that since June 2004, no sperm from anonymous donors can be frozen for use in insemination treatments. For current information, we refer you to the Stichting Registratie Donorgegevens’ website: www.donorgegevens.nl.

Further information

Further topics you might be interested in

We are here for you!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

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Our opening times:
Mon-Fri: 09:00 - 16:30
Sat: 10:00 - 13:00

Schedule an appointment:

☎ +31 (0)71 80 80 37 2

Our emergency number:

☎ +31 (0) 6 25257420

✉ info[at]mckinderwens.nl

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