IUI and ICI are two types of artificial insemination techniques. In both methods, semen can be introduced artificially into the genital tract of a female. Therefore, the insemination can be done naturally or artificially into the vagina, cervix or into the uterus. They are simple procedures and easy to achieve fertilization and pregnancy. In intrauterine insemination, the donor semen containing sperms is inseminated directly into the uterus. In intracervical insemination, the donor semen is inseminated into the vagina.
What is IUI?
IUI or intrauterine insemination is an artificial insemination method in which donor sperms are introduced directly into the uterus. IUI method uses washed and purified donor sperms which have been prepared in a laboratory. During the purification, the seminal fluid is separated from the sperm cells. Then a cryo-preservative fluid should be added before freezing and preserving. If the IUI unit is used without washing and purifying, donor sperm can cause allergic reactions.
Most importantly, the IUI procedure should be always carried out at a clinic by a trained health care professional. In addition, IUI units can be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatments as well.
What is ICI?
Intracervical insemination or ICI is another artificial insemination procedure in which the donor semen is introduced into the women’s vagina. Once introduced, the sperms swim and travel along the reproductive tract of the female into the uterus, similar to the natural pathway.
In ICI, the donor sperms are not washed or purified. Hence, it contains the composition of naturally occurring fluids of men. This natural fluid contributes to the better motility of sperm cells all the way to the egg in order to fertilize with it.
What are the Similarities Between IUI and ICI?
- IUI and ICI are two artificial insemination methods, which are forms of assisted reproductive technology.
- They are used to treat different kinds of infertility states.
- Therefore, both methods can improve the chance of pregnancy.
- In both methods, donor sperms are used and introduced to a part of the female reproductive tract.
- They are carried out at the time of ovulation.
- Both methods are less expensive and less invasive than IVF.
- In both procedures, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is used to put sperms in the woman’s reproductive tract.
What is the Difference Between IUI and ICI?
IUI is an artificial insemination procedure in which donor semen is introduced directly into the uterus. In contrast, ICI is an artificial insemination procedure in which donor semen is introduced into the women’s vagina. So, this is the key difference between IUI and ICI.
Moreover, in IUI, donor sperm is washed and purified and it has been prepared in a laboratory; however, in ICI, donor sperm is unwashed, unpurified, and contains all the naturally occurring ejaculate fluids. Therefore, this is also a significant difference between IUI and ICI. Most importantly, IUI introduces donor sperms into the uterus while ICI introduces donor sperms into the vagina at the entrance to the cervix.
Summary – IUI vs ICI
IUI and ICI are two artificial insemination methods used to treat infertility problems. Both methods are done at the time of ovulation and they improve the chance of pregnancy. Moreover, in both methods, donor semen is introduced into the female reproductive tract. However, in IUI, donor sperms are directly inseminated into the uterus while in ICI, donor semen is inseminated into the women’s vagina. This is the key difference between IUI and ICI. Moreover, IUI uses washed and purified donor sperms while ICI uses unwashed and unpurified donor sperms. Hence, IUI units are costly than ICI units.
1. Briones, Danielle. “Intracervical Insemination, ICI Costs, Success Rates.” DocShop, DocShop, 6 Sept. 2017, Available here.
2. Jr., William C. Shiel. “Definition of Artificial Insemination.” MedicineNet, MedicineNet, 27 Dec. 2018, Available here.
1. “IUI” By BruceBlaus – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Blausen 0058 ArtificialInsemination” By Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia