While there are natural ways to boost your fertility, the doctor will sometimes lead you to consider medical procedures to increase your chances of getting pregnant. One such procedure is intrauterine insemination or IUI. What happens during this treatment and how can you improve IUI success rates?
What is IUI?
IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is one type of artificial insemination. It is a simple, low-tech fertility treatment where sperm is placed directly inside the woman’s womb (uterus).
Placing the sperm inside the womb increases the chance of fertilization. This is because the time and distance that the sperm cell has to travel to meet an egg cell are significantly reduced.
What Happens in Intrauterine Insemination
Before we talk about the success rate of intrauterine artificial insemination, let’s first discuss how the procedure works:
- First, you and your partner will undergo tests to determine the cause of infertility. When doctors have established that IUI can be a good treatment option, you will proceed with the next steps.
- The woman might receive fertility medicines. These medicines will stimulate ovulation, the process where the ovary releases a mature egg cell.
- The doctors will then collect sperm cells from the man.
- After the collection process, the sperm cells will undergo “sperm washing.” Sperm washing separates the healthy sperm cells from the immotile/dead ones.
- Finally, the doctor will put the healthy sperm inside the woman’s womb.
- IUI is successful when a sperm cell successfully fertilizes the egg cell, and the fertilized egg implants itself on the lining of the uterus.
Knowing what happens before, during, and after the procedure will give you a better idea of the things you can work on to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
The Success Rate of Artificial Insemination
The success rate of artificial insemination depends on several factors.
For instance, your ability to “fix” the cause of infertility may increase or decrease the IUI success rates. How well you respond to the fertility medications also matter. And finally, you must also consider both the modifiable (i.e. lifestyle, sperm health) and non-modifiable factors (i.e. woman’s age).
Now, if you are looking for a numerical representation of IUI success rates, reports say that it could be as high as 20% per cycle if the couples decide to do the procedure once a month. Of course, this number may go up or down depending on the factors we mentioned above.
How to Improve IUI Success Rates
To improve IUI success rates, you can consider the following measures:
Think about IUI while you’re still young
One study reveals that to improve artificial insemination success rates, couples might need to have it before the woman reaches the age of 35.
Results show that the pregnancy rate in women under the age of 35 is 26%. This is significantly higher than the rate in women ages 35 to 40 years old, which is only 16.5%. Women over 40 had the lowest pregnancy rate of only 1.2%.
Because it’s hard to consider having artificial insemination while you are still young, regular consultation with your doctor will help. With regular check-ups, you will be able to detect fertility problems early on and the doctor can present treatment options for you immediately.
Have a long talk with your doctor about fertility medications
Some women, especially those who are over the age of 35, are advised to take fertility medications to promote “superovulation.” Superovulation boosts the chances of getting pregnant because it allows the woman’s ovary to release more egg cells.
Here’s an interesting note: Some studies suggest that the type of fertility medication can also affect the success rate of artificial insemination.
In one trial, the researchers found that a low-dose human menopausal gonadotrophin (hMG) is “superior” to clomiphene citrate (CC). They arrived at that conclusion after the women who took hMG presented a higher clinical pregnancy rate than women who had CC.
On the other hand, different research showed that the two medications had “no significant difference.”
Either way, these studies indicate that fertility medications are important, so don’t hesitate to discuss this in detail with your doctor.
Consider having IUI twice per cycle
To improve IUI success rates, you might need to have artificial insemination twice per cycle.
One research shows that women who had artificial insemination once (before ovulation) only had a pregnancy rate of 7%.
When the researchers looked into the rate of women who had insemination twice (before and after ovulation), they noted that it was higher at 26.3%.
Rest after IUI
According to reports, there is an on-going debate about whether or not a woman should get up after artificial insemination.
One study involving 400 couples revealed that women who lie down for 15 minutes after the procedure are 10% more likely to become pregnant than those who immediately got up.
Apparently, in the group of women who got up immediately, the pregnancy rate was 17%. Remarkably, the success rate in the group who lied down for 15 minutes was 27%.
Even with this study, you still need to listen to what your doctor advises you to do after the procedure.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
The success rate of artificial insemination also depends on how healthy the couple is.
Experts advise that to improve IUI success rates, couples must eat nutritious foods. That means your diet must have fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. They also emphasize the importance of being “toxin-free” by drinking lots of water daily.
It would also help if you take multivitamins. They specifically mentioned folic acid for women, but since everyone is different, you might need to talk to your doctor. Together, you can figure out the best supplements that will attend to your physical needs.
Finally, doctors highlight that it’s vital for couples to reduce stress. According to research, there is already “a lot of evidence” that shows that stress can potentially reduce the chances of getting pregnant.
Even with these tips to improve IUI success rates, don’t forget that each person is different. Your doctor may be able to provide you with concrete steps to boost your chances of getting pregnant, so listen carefully to their advice.
Learn more about Getting Pregnant here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.