ClientBlogIUI vs ICI treatment: How does it work?
Home Insemination, Fertility treatment

IUI vs ICI treatment: How does it work?


Have you thought about using an artificial insemination process to get pregnant? Are you aware that there are two common types of procedures to choose from: Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or Intracervical Insemination (ICI)? It is important to understand the difference between the two procedures so that you can determine which fertility treatment is right for you. Want to get the know-how of each treatment type is carried out - read on.

Cryos, International Sperm and Egg Bank, provides two types of sperm; IUI-ready and ICI-ready donor sperm. Each sperm type can be found under donor profiles in our sperm donor search. Understanding which fertility treatment you want or need to do, will determine which type of sperm you should purchase for your treatment.

How Does IUI Work?

IUI is an infertility treatment performed by a physician, using sperm that has been prepared and washed. The sperm is placed directly into the uterus at the exact time you are ovulating for fertilization. This procedure is relatively short and is performed in a medical clinic or doctor's office.

The process of IUI treatment

  • Step 1: Before the treatment can start, it is important to have the fertility tested, to see whether IUI treatment or IVF treatment is the right choice. For heterosexual couples, the man's sperm quality is also tested. If the man is struggling with low sperm quality, donor sperm might be necessary.
  • Step 2: The next step is determining the optimal time for insemination, which must take place during ovulation. Ovulation typically occurs 12 to 16 days prior to the start of the next menstrual cycle. To ensure that the IUI treatment is performed at the most favourable time, your fertility clinic may conduct one or more ultrasound scans. Additionally, they may recommend a mild hormone stimulation or an ovulation injection to regulate egg production and optimize ovulation timing.
  • Step 3: At the time of ovulation, insemination is performed by a fertility doctor, who injects the sperm cells into the woman's uterus. The procedure is almost pain-free and it only takes about 15 - 20 minutes before you can leave the clinic.

Watch the 3D video (Credit: Schering-Plough Corporation) below to see how an IUI works. You can also read more about the success rates when using IUI treatment to fulfil your dream of having a child.

How Does ICI Work? 

ICI often referred to as home insemination, is a fertility treatment that can be done using unwashed (ICI-ready) or washed (IUI-ready) donor sperm. Cryos ships your chosen donor sperm directly to your home, at which time an adult must be present to sign for and accept the shipment. The shipment includes all the necessary information and tools you will need. An easy-to-follow step-by-step instruction document guides you in completing your ICI treatment successfully.

What is the process of ICI treatment?

  • Step 1: Once you have chosen a sperm donor and the sperm has been delivered to your home, you can start your treatment. Timing is critical in ICI treatment, as it is essential to ensure that you are ovulating so that the sperm can fertilize the egg. Once you have confirmed that you are ovulating or are about to ovulate, you can proceed with the treatment.
  • Step 2: The first thing you need to do, is to thaw the sperm straws. Remove your sperm straw from the nitrogen tank and thaw at room temperature for approximately 15-20 minutes. From there, fit the thick end of the adapter onto the syringe and clean the straw using the alcohol pad. Now you can cut open the sealed end of the straw and place it into the thin end of the adapter.
  • Step 3: Once the straws have been thawed, you can continue by laying down in a comfortable position, where you use a pillow to raise your hips. From there, you take the syringe and carefully insert it as far into the vaginal canal as possible. Inject the sperm into your vagina to complete the home insemination and then lay still in place for approximately 30 minutes.

Follow the instructions (see step-by-step home insemination instructions here as well). Taking the supplied plastic syringe, you will then transfer the thawed sperm from the straw into your vagina during your ovulation.

Watch the detailed video below to see how ICI or home insemination is done.

ICI vs IUI: The main differences

It can be difficult to decide whether to choose ICI treatment or IUI treatment. Here below, we will go through the main differences in terms of the treatment process and success rates.

How is the process of ICI treatment different to the process of IUI treatment?

The main difference between ICI and IUI treatment is the location where they are performed. In ICI treatment the sperm is placed directly into the vagina, making it possible to have the procedure done in the comfort of your own home. While ICI treatments can be done in a fertility clinic, they are most commonly performed in the comfort of one's own home. IUI treatments, on the other hand, must be performed at a fertility clinic as the sperm is inserted directly into the uterus.

The difference in success rates when comparing ICI and IUI

When evaluating success rates for fertility treatments, it is important to keep in mind that they are average based on data from various fertility clinics and women. Studies indicate that women undergoing IUI treatment tend to have an average success rate of around 18% per cycle. The success rate for ICI treatment is slightly lower due to the sperm being inserted into the vagina rather than the uterus. However, it's important to note that these success rates can vary based on individual factors such as age, medical history, and the underlying cause of infertility.

Comparing the cost of ICI and IUI treatment

It is important to consider the cost of a treatment cycle when deciding between ICI and IUI treatment. Generally, ICI treatment is less expensive as it does not require a healthcare professional. Additionally, ICI treatment allows for the use of unwashed sperm, which is sperm that still contains the natural fluids surrounding the sperm cells in an ejaculate, thus making it cheaper than IUI sperm.

If you want to learn more about the difference between the cost of home insemination and other types of fertility treatment, then follow the link.

Contact Cryos

If you need more information about donor sperm call 407-203-1175 to learn more about IUI or ICI procedures. Email us at [email protected] or use our live online chat during operating hours for a more private option to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Care Coordinators. They are happy to answer any questions you may have and advise you about your different options.

Join the Family Dreams - Cryos USA group on Facebook to talk to numerous other women who have had success with their IUI and ICI treatments, and now have the families of their dreams.