Side Effects

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fairly common infertility treatment that may help you get pregnant. Like many medical procedures, the IUI procedure may cause side effects.

Most women find that IUI side effects are minimal. Here are some quick facts about IUI side effects:

  • Most women experience little to no pain during IUI.
  • Some women may experience mild cramping with IUI.
  • Severe side effects, like infections, can occur following IUI, but these are very rare.

Most IUI side effects are caused by the fertility drugs taken during the IUI cycle, not the IUI procedure itself.

IUI side effects and fertility drugs

When you begin an IUI cycle, your doctor will prescribe fertility drugs to increase your chances of IUI success. These drugs will stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs for the insemination.

Fertility drugs that you take may cause a number of IUI side effects including:

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Nausea, headaches or visual disturbances
  • Swollen and painful ovaries, signaling ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Pelvic discomfort, breast tenderness, or bloating
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Swelling or a rash around the injection site

IUI side effects caused by fertility drugs are often mild and disappear once the medication is stopped. Always call your doctor if any uncomfortable symptoms develop during an IUI cycle.

IUI and the risk of multiples

The risk of multiples (becoming pregnant with twins, triplets, or more children) with IUI is fairly small, but it is a side effect of taking fertility drugs taken with IUI. About 10 percent of women that take ovulation-inducing drugs and 30 percent of women that take gonadotropins will become pregnant with multiples.

A multiple pregnancy is often a welcome and wonderful miracle for couples that have dealt with infertility. Still, a multiple pregnancy can put you and your babies at risk for health problems like the following:

  • Complications at birth
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Developmental problems
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Bed rest

Discuss the risks of multiples with your doctor before starting fertility drugs for IUI.

IUI side effects are minimal

As you can see, IUI side effects are fairly minimal and most women find the IUI procedure to be pretty painless. If you are still nervous about your IUI, discuss your concerns with your doctor.



  • American Pregnancy Association: Intrauterine Insemination: IUI.
  • American Pregnancy Association: Infertility Medications
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Medications for Inducing Ovulation: A Guide for Patients
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Intrauterine Insemination: IUI.
  • RESOLVE: Fertility Medications