At Home IUI Limitations and Risks

Crystal Schwanke
In vitro fertilisation

At home IUIs (intrauterine inseminations) are generally not able to be completed in the patient's home. If the patients live close enough, sperm collection can be done at home, however, with a quick follow-up at the clinic.

About IUIs

Intrauterine inseminations are done by inserting sperm through the cervix and directly into the uterus using a catheter. It's a relatively short process time-wise and takes roughly five minutes. There is a wait time between semen collection and insertion, however, that can extend over the course of a couple of hours because it has to be washed prior to insertion to avoid complications.

At Home IUI Guidelines and More

If you live close to the clinic, ejaculation into a special type of condom that you can only obtain at your doctor's office or into a sterile collection cup is possible. It cannot be directly deposited into the uterus at this point. Anything beyond sperm collection, unfortunately, cannot be done at home because the semen has to be washed prior to the insemination process to remove everything from the sample, leaving only the sperm.

Keep the sample at body temperature as you take it to the clinic. At the clinic, you'll receive an estimated time regarding how long it will take for the sperm to be ready for insertion. Once it's ready, the woman will undress from the waist down and the doctor will insert a speculum followed by the catheter. In many cases, the doctor will allow the woman to lie on the table for about fifteen minutes after the procedure is done.

Timing is important with IUIs, of course. They should generally be done about six hours before or after ovulation for the best chance of success.

At Home Alternatives

While IUIs are not recommended to be done in the home by the patients, there are alternatives when a different insemination method is done in the home or the IUI is done by professionals in the patient's home.

Vaginal Insemination

While doctors don't usually instruct patients on how to do an at home IUI because of the risks involved when getting semen or air into the uterus, they will sometimes teach their patients to do vaginal insemination. However, the success rate of vaginal insemination is no higher than that of intercourse.

Professionals in the Patient's Home

Check around with clinics in your area to see if any of them will send professionals to your home to do the IUI. It isn't exactly a common practice, but some do offer the service.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is sperm washing? The need for sperm washing is one of the major reasons IUIs aren't often done at home. The sperm are prepared for the IUI by spinning them at a high speed in a machine, which separates the motile sperm from the non-motile sperm and also from any other debris. If you're hoping for one gender over another, sperm can also be spun in a way that tips the odds in favor of the desired gender.
  • What are the dangers of at home IUIs? Infection is the main concern with these at home procedures. Sperm should be placed inside of the uterus without anything else, including semen. Another concern with artificial insemination is making sure everything is sterile. For example, if the catheter is not sterile, it could cause an infection. One more concern is the expertise IUIs require. The average person would generally require assistance from a medical in order to ensure that the procedure is done correctly, making an IUI performed at home a less attractive option.
  • What are the potential side effects of IUIs that are not done at home? While infection is the biggest risk against doing an IUI at home, there are some potential side effects for those procedures done in a doctor's office, too. Most of them are not serious, however. A woman may have some bleeding after it's done. Though this isn't common, it usually is not cause for concern. She may also feel wet as the day continues, but this is not the sperm leaking back out; during the process, the catheter may loosen mucus in the cervix and that is what she feels. She may have mild cramping, but in most cases, women report IUIs to be painless.
At Home IUI Limitations and Risks