IUI Questions

What is the difference between Artificial insemination and IUI?

Artificial insemination is any process which means insemination into woman’s private parts such as Vagina (Intra Vaginal Insemination or IVI), Cervix (Intra Cervical Insemination or ICI) or Uterine (Intra Uterine Insemination or IUI). However, since pregnancy rates are higher with IUI than with ICI or IVI, the most popular form of AI is IUI.

What are my chances of getting pregnant with the most common treatments such as IUI?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a low-tech treatment that produces results like natural Fertility. The success rate of IVF varies with age as well. If a woman is under 35, IUI has a success rate of 10% to 20%. IUI has a success rate of fewer than 10% for women between 35 and 40.

What is IUI?

IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination and basically with that process, the sperm is washed after it’s been collected from the ejaculate and then concentrated and then placed up inside of the uterus. The difference between this and timed intercourse is with timed intercourse, approximately 10% of the sperm is making it up inside of the uterus versus with Intrauterine Insemination or IUI, the whole ejaculate is concentrated down, washed and then placed up inside of the uterus. Therefore there’s more sperm to have more of a chance to meet the egg.

What is the success rate of artificial insemination?

Depending on the origin of the sperm sample, we will speak of Conjugal (Partner) Artificial Insemination (CAI), when the sample comes from the male partner, or donor Artificial Insemination (DAI), when the sample comes from a Sperm Donor, success rate varies.

The two factors that largely determine the success rate of an insemination are the age of the woman and the source of the semen. In young women (under 35 years of age) the rate is around 30% for DAI and 25% for CAI. In women between 35 and 40 years of age, the rates range between 20% for DAI and 15% for CAI. After the age of 40, the rates decrease significantly, ranging from 10% for DAI to 8% for CAI.

Generally, it is recommended to perform a series of inseminations until pregnancy is achieved, about 3 or 4 attempts. In this case we speak of a cumulative success rate. Cumulative rates also vary according to the age of the woman and the origin of the semen. In women under 35 years of age, we can reach a 70% success rate for DAI and 50% for CAI. Between 35 and 40 years of age, the cumulative pregnancy rates are around 50% for DAI and 35% for CAI. In women over 40 years of age, the rates drop to 22% for DAI and 15% for CAI.

If pregnancy has not been achieved after four attempts, a change to other assisted reproductive techniques as in vitro fertilisation should be considered, since it is considered that the cumulative rate will not vary any more.

Can I conceive with IUI instead of IVF?

In order to determine if you’re a candidate for IUI, the female needs to undergo an assessment of her tubal functioning because the tubes, the Fallopian tubes, are the transportation in the pelvis of the eggs and sperm into the uterus, and if that is not functional then an IUI will not be successful regardless of the amount of sperm count, motility or shape. Regardless of that, if all of that is normal, you still need the transportation to be functional, which is the Fallopian tubes.

In order to assess the Fallopian tubes, a hysterosalpingogram is performed. During this procedure, dye is placed into the uterus and then it goes into the Fallopian tubes and a radiologist or physician can determine whether or not the tubes are patent, or open.

Do we have to abstain from intercourse before semen analysis and after an IUI (insemination)?

Please wait four days before having your sperm analysis. After IUI, there are no restrictions on intercourse.

What is a good count for an iui sperm sample?

We generally consider a total motile count of at least 5 million sperm (post-processing) as an adequate sample for IUI.

Is it ok to get an IUI during ovulation?

Yes, it’s still OK. There is a window where the egg could be fertilised, from around 3-5 days before ovulation until the day of ovulation (and maybe one day after ovulation). The day of ovulation might be the best day to do an Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – if you choose one IUI per month we time it for the day of expected ovulation for two IUIs a month we choose the day before ovulation and the day of ovulation. If we are monitoring a treatment cycle with ultrasound and you have a decent-sized follicle and then get a positive LH surge I would do an IUI on the day of your surge. The egg has up to 24 hours after ovulation when fertilisation could occur.

What advantages does Artificial Insemination (IUI) offer?

Artificial insemination is the least invasive of the assisted reproduction treatments. In insemination, hormonal stimulation is minimal, thus avoiding the unpleasant side effects of hormone treatment and the need to go to the operating room for egg retrieval. As fertilisation takes place in the fallopian tubes as in a spontaneous conception, the process is more natural and the embryo evolves in its natural environment. To sum up, it is a painless, cheaper and more natural process than in vitro fertilisation.

What are the differences between IUI and IVF?

Process: Artificial insemination consists of a fertility treatment in which a sperm sample is placed inside the uterus of the women while she is ovulating. The sperm sample, from the partner or the donor, is prepared in our laboratory in order to select the best sperm cells.

In Vitro fertilisation (IVF) is an assisted reproduction treatment where the eggs are fertilized with sperm in the laboratory.

Therefore, in the first technique, fertilisation is done within the woman’s body while in the second one, fertilisation is done in vitro which means outside the woman’s body.

Level of complexity: Regarding the simplicity of each technique, In Vitro fertilisation is more complex since it requires the egg collection and fertilisation, which is done in the laboratory, to transfer the resulting embryos into the uterus. While for artificial insemination, there is no egg collection.

Number of attempts: Artificial insemination can be repeated in each cycle and it is not necessary to have one month off to increase success rates.

Regarding In Vitro fertilisation, ideally you should wait until the ovaries return to their normal condition before stimulating them again. It is recommended to wait a couple of cycles before performing another treatment. There is no limit to the number of In Vitro fertilisation but it is usually not more than 3. It is convenient to re-evaluate the case after each cycle in order to determine whether more tests are necessary.

Price: The price of the treatment is usually important when you choose from several options but not in this case. Even if artificial insemination is cheaper than In Vitro fertilisation, each technique is recommended by the specialist who has into consideration which treatment is better for you according to your circumstances. For this reason, it is really important to rely on professionals such as PSFC team.

Positive results: The rates for pregnancy achieved with artificial insemination depend on the patient’s age. These rates are similar to those a non-sterile couple have during a natural cycle meaning around 20-25 % depending on the source of the sperm.

The success rates for In Vitro fertilisation depend mainly on the woman’s age, but it can be said that they can achieve 70% of success among women younger than 35 years old. For women up to 42 years old and even though the success rates decrease, they are about 60%.

Possible risks: There are always possible associated risks to most treatments, but they are decreasing more and more due to a better individualization and follow-up of the patient.

The main risk of artificial insemination is a multiple pregnancy, which will depend on the number of follicles that develop during the stimulation phase. This risk is manageable with ultrasound monitoring during the treatment.

IVF can cause some more risks than artificial insemination and they could be:

  • Hyperstimulation syndrome may occur due to the excessive response of the ovaries to the medication. This risk is currently minimal since individualized protocols are performed.
  • Bleeding can occur, which is generally self-limited. In rare occasions surgery will be required to solve this.
  • Multiple pregnancy, although, the single embryo transfer policy is helping to considerably reduce considerably the number of multiple pregnancies.

It is really important when a treatment is chosen to be advised by a professional team that will indicate you which technique is the best for you. For this reason, here in PSFC, we work every day to offer the highest quality whether in the implementation of the treatments or in the human treatment towards our patients.

Is IUI better than IVF?

People try IUI before checking with IVF because of its affordability, but it depends on the treatment experts who know which works best for your condition. This is because of age or other conditions for infertility. 

What is the success rate of IUI?

Age is an essential factor in determining the success of IUI. Most healthcare experts will recommend IUI treatment before turning 40 to increase your pregnancy risk.

Is there anything that can be done to increase the chances of pregnancy with IUI?

Various factors will determine the success of IUI. It depends on the,

  • Age
  • Fertility drugs
  • Health conditions
  • Cause of infertility