Are you curious about intrauterine insemination (IUI) success rates or wondering if IUI could help you get pregnant? We have the latest information for you here.
Here is an estimate of your chances of pregnancy based on the number of IUI cycles you are willing to undergo:
- Women often have a 10 to 20 percent chance of getting pregnant with just one IUI cycle.
- The more cycles of IUI you undergo, the higher the chance is for a pregnancy. With 3 to 6 cycles of IUI, pregnancy rates can be as high as 80 percent.
- The pregnancy rate with IUI is similar to, or just slightly lower than, pregnancy rates of fertile couples that become pregnant on their own.
Insemination success rates vary depending on a number of factors including:
- A woman’s age
- Fallopian tube status (at least one open tube)
- The sperm sample (In men with very low sperm counts – less than 5 million total motile sperm – IUI is generally not successful).
Note: If you are using frozen donor sperm, IUI can help to increase pregnancy success as compared to intravaginal insemination.
IUI success rates by age
Age affects fertility and age affects IUI success rates. As with most fertility procedures, IUI success is higher for younger women.
Here are the chances of pregnancy after one IUI cycle, by age:
- Under 35: 10 to 20 percent chance of pregnancy
- Between 35 and 40: 10 percent chance
- Women 40 and above: 2 to 5 percent chance
The good news is that most people that try IUI will have a good chance of becoming pregnant over time. However, you may need to be willing to try IUI multiple times. It may take between 3 to 6 IUI cycles before a pregnancy occurs. If you have tried IUI for 3 to 6 cycles and have not gotten pregnant yet, it is time to discuss other options with a fertility specialist (reproductive endocrinologist).
If you are over 35, you may want to talk to your doctor to see if in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a better first option for you. In women over 40, it may be best to move straight to IVF.
Fertility drugs linked to IUI success
Fertility drugs may help you conceive with IUI. Your doctor may prescribe clomiphene citrate (Clomid), Letrozole (Femara) or injectable medications such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG) before IUI. These medications may help stimulate ovulation. If you have tried IUI with Clomid or injectables for 3 to 6 cycles, and you have not gotten pregnant, discuss other options with your fertility specialist.
The IUI process
Proper timing and healthy sperm boost the chances of IUI success. Your healthcare provider will help you determine the correct time for the IUI procedure. Typically, IUI is performed just before you ovulate. You may be asked to use a home ovulation predictor kit (OPK) or come to the office for ultrasound monitoring to determine the best time for your IUI.
The IUI procedure is performed in a treatment room and is very similar to a Pap smear test. Following the IUI, you will be asked to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sperm washing & IUI success
One of the secrets to IUI success is the specialized process of washing and preparing the sperm sample before insemination.
Here is how the IUI sperm washing process works:
- The weaker sperm are separated from the stronger, healthier sperm.
- The strong, healthy sperm are concentrated into a high volume in the insemination sample.
- Toxins are removed from the semen and sperm. These toxins may cause an allergic reaction in some women that can hinder pregnancy.
Is IUI right for you?
Intrauterine insemination is a relatively affordable fertility treatment, and many individuals or couples will choose to try IUI before moving forward with the more intensive and expensive IVF process. When you weigh the benefits of IUI, including the lower cost, lower time commitment, and lower stress, you can see why many individuals and couples opt to try IUI first.
Since each individual is different, your doctor can provide a more accurate estimate of your expected success rate with IUI. Ask your doctor for more information about the number of inseminations/number of IUI cycles that are right for you.
Medical review provided by Dr. Carmelo Sgarlata with the Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Age and Fertility: A Guide for Patients, Report on varicocele and infertility Medications for Inducing Ovulation: A Guide for Patients
- RESOLVE: Medical Aspects of Donor Insemination
- http://www.hfea.gov.uk: What is intrauterine insemination (IUI) and how does it work?