Vial Types

There are different types of artificial insemination and they may require a specific type of vial preparation. You can ship vials of frozen donor sperm directly to your home or to your physician’s office (if you live in NY, or are shipping to your physician’s office, you will need to submit a Physician Shipping Authorization, or A1). If you’re working with a physician, you should check to see which vial type he or she prefers for your insemination. It’s important to know which type of vial you need to order.

ICI Vials

ICI is an abbreviation for Intracervical Insemination. These vials are used for vaginal or intracervical inseminations. This is the type of vial you would order if you plan to do a home insemination.*

ICI vials are “unwashed” and not suitable for placement into the uterus without further processing to remove seminal plasma. Some physicians may wash an ICI vial before doing an IUI procedure (Intrauterine Insemination). If you are planning an IUI procedure with your physician, you should only purchase ICI vials if you are certain your physician or lab will wash the specimen prior to insemination. Using unwashed ICI vials for an IUI is not recommended as it could result in significant uterine cramping or even more significant adverse reactions. ICI vials can be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF), as they will be washed in the laboratory prior to the in vitro procedure.

*Please note that at-home insemination is available where allowed by state law.

IUI Vials

IUI is an abbreviation for Intrauterine Insemination. These vials are “washed” and can be used directly for intrauterine inseminations. “Washed” means that the raw ejaculate is put through a density gradient to remove the dead and less motile sperm. This process creates specimen with a high concentration of progressively motile sperm that is ready to be placed in the uterus. No further processing is needed after thaw. An intrauterine insemination must be performed by a healthcare professional. Do not attempt an intrauterine insemination at home. You can use an IUI vial for a vaginal or intracervical insemination. IUI vials can be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF), as they will be washed in the laboratory prior to the in vitro procedure.

IVF Vials

IVF is an abbreviation for In Vitro Fertilization. IVF procedures generally require less sperm than ICI or IUI procedures. Accordingly, IVF vials contain lower volume and counts of motile sperm. They are available in two different preparations:

  • ICI-IVF Vials: These are processed as ICI vials and are unwashed.
  • IUI-IVF Vials: These are processed as IUI vials and washed.

These vials can also be used for inseminations, but due to the lower total motile sperm count, you and your physician might consider using two or more vials for each insemination. Just be sure to choose the appropriate preparation, ICI-IVF or IUI-IVF, for your insemination.

Vial Contents: Please note that all vial types (ICI, IUI, and IVF vials) contain sperm washing media with Gentamicin and Sperm Freeze Media containing 0.4% human serum albumin. No known test methods can offer absolute assurance that products derived from human blood will not transmit infectious agents.

How Much Sperm Is In A Vial?

The volume of the specimen will vary depending on the type of vial and target sperm concentration. Total motile counts will fall within a range of plus or minus 30% from the target value given the established technical and inherent biological variation.

  • ICI vials contain at least 1.0 mL and we target a post-thaw count of 15 million total motile sperm. An ICI vial will produce a post thaw count between 10.5 and 19.5 motile sperm. Our sperm count standard cannot be applied if your clinic washes the specimen before counting.
  • IUI vials contain at least 0.5 mL and we target a post-thaw count of 10 million total motile sperm. An IUI vial will produce a post thaw count between 7 and 13 million motile sperm.

We currently do not provide total motile count target on our ICI-IVF and IUI-IVF vials.