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What is the difference between IUI and ICI donor sperm?

The difference between IUI and ICI sperm straws

You can choose between two different types of sperm straws at Cryos: IUI and ICI. Before placing your order, you will need to know about the difference. In this blog post, we will introduce you to the two types of donor sperm, the difference between them, and what to choose for your fertility treatment with donor sperm.

What is a sperm straw?

A sperm straw is a small plastic cylinder, that you purchase when trying to become pregnant with donor sperm. When buying donor sperm at Cryos, your fertility clinic receives the order in straws of 0.5 millilitre sperm. Which then are used to perform fertility treatment.

ICI vs IUI - what is the difference?

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 sperm themselves.

What is an IUI sperm straw?

An IUI straw is washed and purified sperm which has been prepared in a laboratory. An IUI sperm straw is ready for insemination directly into the uterus. The purification of the donor sperm consists of separating the seminal fluids from the sperm cells and adding a cryo-preservative fluid before preserving the sperm (freezing).

IUI straws are ready to be used for intrauterine insemination at a clinic. The IUI treatment must always be done at a clinic by a trained healthcare professional. IUI straws can also be used for IVF, ICI and ICSI treatment.

Intrauterine insemination with donor sperm

ICI sperm straws

ICI straws from a sperm donor is unwashed, unpurified sperm that contains all the naturally occurring ejaculate fluids. ICI sperm straws can be used for the fertility treatment intracervical insemination where the sperm is inserted into the woman’s vagina.

ICI straws can also be used for IVF and ICSI treatment. Unwashed ICI sperm cannot be used for intrauterine insemination as this may cause a severe allergic reaction. However, you can order ICI sperm for IUI treatment at a clinic if the clinic prefers to prepare the sperm themselves prior to the fertility treatment. We recommend you to ask your clinic for their preferences with regards to the choice of sperm straws before ordering.

Recommendations for your order

For artificial insemination at a clinic with IUI donor sperm, we recommend using 1 MOT10 straw or higher per treatment. You can read more about what to order for your treatment here and wether to prioritize IUI or ICI sperm straws.

There is a price difference between IUI and ICI donor sperm straws. The former has a higher price than the latter. Learn more about Cryos Sperm Bank prices and payment options or find the exact price of the sperm straws on each sperm donor profile in our Sperm Donor Search. Please, remember that you must first create a profile to browse the donors. This is of course completely free of charge.

We always recommend you to ask your clinic for advice before placing your order. You are also welcome to contact our Customer Care for further information and guidance. We know that the process can be difficult and therefore, we are ready to help you.


Frequently asked questions about IUI or ICI sperm straws
Can you use IUI sperm for IVF?

Yes. IUI sperm straws are recommended during fertility treatments like IVF treatment because the sperm is inseminated in the uterus and therefore has to be washed.

Can you use ICI sperm for IUI treatment?

Yes, ICI sperm can be ordered for IUI treatment, but only if your fertility clinic is able to wash the sperm before insemination. Otherwise, the unwashed sperm may cause severe cramping.

See all Frequently Asked Questions here