When looking at a donor’s available straws in the Sperm Donor Search you will come across the terms IUI and ICI. In the following, we explain the difference between IUI straws and ICI straws and what to choose for which treatment.
What is an IUI straw?
IUI straws contain washed sperm that has been prepared in a laboratory. The natural ejaculate fluids have been removed and a cryo-preservative has been added.
What type of treatment are IUI straws used for?
IUI straws are ready to use for IUI treatment, where the sperm is inserted directly into the uterus. This fertility treatment allows a lot of sperm cells to reach the egg and therefore, thus increasing the chances of getting pregnant compared to ICI treatment. IUI treatment is always performed by a trained healthcare professional.
IUI straws can also be used for ICI, IVF and ICSI treatment depending on your clinic’s preference.
What is an ICI straw?
ICI straws are unwashed/unprepared sperm. ICI straws contain all the natural fluids that are present in a normal ejaculate.
What type of treatment are ICI sperm straws used for?
ICI straws can be used for intra cervical insemination (ICI). In this fertility treatment, a syringe is used to insert the sperm into the woman’s vagina. The motile sperm (sperm motility) cells will swim into the uterus and hopefully, fertilize the egg. This is similar to intercourse.
ICI straws can only be used for IUI, IVF or ICSI treatment if your clinic can wash the straws before the treatment. Please consult your clinic regarding which type of straw they prefer.
ICI sperm cannot be used for IUI (intra uterine insemination) treatment as inserting unwashed sperm directly into the uterus may cause a negative reaction leading to severe cramps.
Ask your fertility clinic
We always recommend that you ask your clinic for advice as to what sperm motility is needed. You are also welcome to contact Cryos Customer Care if you need further guidance when choosing between IUI and ICI. Read about the amount of sperm it takes to become pregnant or how much donor sperm to order here.
Frequently asked questions about IUI or ICI sperm straws
What is the difference between IUI and ICI straws?
The difference between IUI and ICI straws is whether the natural ejaculate fluids have been removed and if a cryo-preservative has been added. The IUI straw is washed and ready for insemination, unlike the ICI straw which is unwashed. Which one to choose depends on the type of treatment as well as the fertility clinic’s preferences, as some clinics prefer to wash the donor sperm themselves.