Success rates for intrauterine insemination (IUI) are more difficult to determine than IVF success rates as they depend on the cause of infertility and whether fertility drugs are used to stimulate egg production. Artificial insemination success rates also depend on a woman’s age, fallopian tube status (must have at least one healthy, open tube), and the sperm sample.

An assessment of the couple’s fertility will usually be carried out to help determine whether IUI is the best fertility treatment option.

How can you increase your chances of success with IUI?

IUI is generally more successful for mild to moderate male infertility issues. For severe male infertility, IVF treatment is probably a better choice and is likely to be recommended by your clinician or treatment provider.

Research has shown that women who lay down for 15 minutes after IUI were 10% more likely to get pregnant during that cycle than women who got straight up following the procedure. The group that rested had IUI success rates of 27% and the group that got up quickly had IUI success rates of 17%.

Healthy sperm will boost your chances of IVF success, so washing and preparing the sperm sample before insemination is key. During this process…

Weaker sperm are separated from the stronger, healthier sperm, and the ‘good’ sperm are concentrated into a high volume in the insemination sample. Any toxins that could cause an allergic reaction in the uterus are removed from the semen.

Age and IUI success

As with most fertility treatments, IUI success is higher for younger women. However, there’s a good chance that women of all ages can get pregnant with IUI, but it may take between three and six IUI cycles before pregnancy occurs.

One study analysed 2,019 IUC cycles to take a closer look at how age impacts success rates. These were the findings:

  • Women aged 20 to 30: 17.6% pregnancy rate, 13% delivery rate
  • Women aged 31 to 35: 13.3% pregnancy rate, 10% delivery rate
  • Women aged 36 to 38: 13.4% pregnancy rate, 9% delivery rate
  • Women aged 39-40: 10.6% pregnancy rate, 7% delivery rate
  • Women over age 40: 5.4% pregnancy rate, 3% delivery rate

Are there any risks?

The risks involved with IUI are minimal – some women might experience slight cramping similar to period pains.

There’s a small risk of a reaction to the fertility drugs that are often used with this treatment to boost egg production, and, like most fertility treatments, there’s a risk of an unintended multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets).

Is IUI right for you?

IUI was previously offered if you had unexplained fertility, mild endometriosis, or when the male partner ha mild fertility problems. However, the National Insitute for Health and Clinical Excellence has advised that it should not be offered in these situations except for exceptional circumstances.

If you’re wondering whether IUI is the right option for you, be sure to book an appointment with your doctor, who will assess your situation and refer you to a specialist who can provide you with all the information. Meanwhile, you can browse our Jargon Buster for any fertility terms or treatments you’re not familiar with.

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Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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