How Intrauterine Insemination May Affect Couples’ Sexual Function and Quality of Life

How Intrauterine Insemination May Affect Couples’ Sexual Function and Quality of Life

Infertility, or the failure to achieve a successful pregnancy after ≥12 months of regular unprotected intercourse, can have a huge impact on a couple’s relationship, sexual connection, and quality of life. It introduces several stressors that affect the couple in ways that they may not have previously considered.

Now, assisted reproductive treatment options such as intrauterine insemination are available to help couples conceive. While these treatment options give couples hope of achieving a successful pregnancy, they also introduce new challenges that couples must contend with such as taking fertility medications, scheduling and attending medical appointments, and dealing with sperm sample collection and insertion.

These procedures are likely to cause stress, fatigue, and emotional upheaval for couples, possibly affecting their sexual function and overall well-being. As such, the authors of a recent study investigated the longitudinal changes in the sexual function and quality of life of 66 Chinese couples undergoing intrauterine insemination using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) for the women or the International Index of Erectile Function–5 (IIEF-5) for the men, and the Fertility Quality of Life (FertiQoL).

The couples who participated in this study completed the questionnaires at three distinct timepoints: after intrauterine insemination counseling (T1), one day before intrauterine insemination (T2), and two weeks after intrauterine insemination (T3).

Using the Chinese FSFI cutoff for sexual dysfunction, 18 (26.1%), 16 (23.2%), and 12 (17.4%) women were at risk for sexual dysfunction at T1, T2, and T3, respectively. For men, 29 (42.0%), 37 (53.6%), and 31 (44.9%) men were at risk for mild to severe erectile dysfunction at T1, T2, and T3, respectively. 

Across the board, the men scored significantly higher than the women on all FertiQoL domains except one, suggesting that intrauterine insemination may have less of an impact on their quality of life. On the other hand, the women saw significant improvement in their FertiQoL domain scores between T1 and T2, possibly due in part to relief that they are receiving reproductive treatment. However, the women’s FertiQoL domain scores declined again at T3.

These results show that intrauterine insemination may indeed impact a couple’s quality of life and even potentially their sexual functioning. Couples dealing with fertility issues and undergoing assisted reproductive treatment should know that the process may be taxing, but they are not alone. Seeking psychosexual counseling or support from a trained mental health professional may help during this possibly stressful period of life.


  • Lo, S.S.T., Wong, G.C.Y., Ng, E.H.Y., Chan, C.H.Y., & Li, R.H.W. (2023). Longitudinal study on sexual function and quality of life in infertile couples undergoing intrauterine insemination. The Journal of Sexual Medicine20(1), 30-37.

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