Important Factor For IUI Success

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a simple procedure, yet there are many factors that can determine the success or failure of an IUI cycle. Take timing, for instance.

After a woman ovulates, which by definition is the release of an egg from a woman's ovaries, there is only a 24 hour window in which the egg can be fertilized. For this reason, the insemination procedure must be timed to coincide with the woman's ovulation.

If a woman is trying a natural cycle with IUI, it makes sense for her to use ovulation prediction home-kits for the purpose of spotting the LH surge that occurs just before ovulation. But such tests only indicate that ovulation will occur in the near future. These tests cannot tell you when you will ovulate.

Fertility Drugs

In the case where the woman has been treated with fertility drugs, a physician will be able to predict with more surety that ovulation has occurred, since these medications necessitate careful monitoring of the reproductive hormones and of the ovaries.

Time is also a factor in preparing the sperm used in IUI, which must first be washed. Unwashed sperm are able to live up to five days in a woman's fertile cervical mucus. But sperm that is washed is believed to live for no longer than one day, though six-twelve hours is the average lifespan for washed sperm. Since washed sperm don't live long, it is crucial to time IUI to the time of the woman's ovulation if the procedure is to be successful.

Second Procedure

Because of the difficulty in pinpointing the time of ovulation, your physician may advise you to have a second IUI procedure done 12-48 hours after your first insemination. The second IUI improves the chances that one of the two procedures will have coincided with ovulation. There are even doctors who will tell you to go home and make love between bouts of IUI.

One of the main factors in IUI success is the number of normal, motile sperm within the semen sample that is used. The higher the sperm count, the more probable it is that IUI will succeed in conception.

But men with good to average sperm counts have been observed to have as much success with IUI as men with high sperm counts. The success rate of IUI with good to average or high sperm counts succeed at a rate of 15%-20% for each cycle.   

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