What are Your Chances for IUI Success?

Successful insemination depends on the egg and sperm being able to come together in the woman’s body and complete the fertilization process. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) success depends on the couple’s unique situation. IUI is a process where sperm are processed in the laboratory and then placed into the uterine cavity using a catheter.


What conditions are IUI used to treat?

Intrauterine insemination is an effective treatment for infertility caused by:

  • Mild male factor issues
  • Female ovulation problems
  • Unexplained causes
  • Mild endometriosis


What conditions will IUI not treat?

IUI is not effective in every situation. Couples should avoid this method if:

  • The woman has blockage of both fallopian tubes
  • The woman has severe endometriosis
  • The man has severe infertility issues
  • The woman has severe pelvic scarring


How is intrauterine insemination done?

Intrauterine insemination is done in a clinical setting by a fertility specialist. The steps include:

  • The man produces a semen specimen by masturbation in the clinic.
  • The semen specimen is washed in the laboratory to concentrate the sperm.
  • The processed sperm sample is drawn into a sterile catheter.
  • The catheter is inserted into the woman’s cervix, and on into the uterus.
  • The sperm is injected into the uterine cavity.


What are the usual success rates with IUI?

Chances for success using intrauterine insemination vary from couple to couple, depending on the age of the woman, the underlying cause of the fertility problem, and the health of the sperm. For women age 25-30 years of age, the IUI success rate is about 20%. For older women, the success rate is only 5-10%, depending on the circumstances.


What are the success rates when fertility medications are used?

Called drug-assisted IUI, the success rates for artificial insemination with fertility drugs are much better than situations where no mediations are used. Insemination treatment is often combined with ovarian stimulation drugs, such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid). After insemination, injectable gonadotropin is given, such as Gonal-F, Follistim, Menopur, or Bravelle. Clinical studies show that IUI plus ovarian stimulation renders higher success rates. When the ovaries are stimulated using fertility drugs, the insemination offers a greater fertility benefit. IUI success rates using Clomid or injectable gonadotropins are:

  • 10% for women under age 35 if tubes are opened using hysterosalpingogram (HSG) and semen analysis is normal.
  • 1-5% if there is tubal damage or significant endometriosis
  • 15% for women under age 35 with open tubes, normal male sperm, and no endometriosis


Will IUI help if I have tubal problems?

IUI cycles are sometimes done if the woman has tubal problems. While chances of pregnancy success are lower, the woman still can become pregnant. The exact success rate depends on the extent of the fallopian tube damage, and if only one tube is blocked. When both tubes are blocked, the woman has no chance of pregnancy using IUI, and the couple should consider intratubal insemination or in vitro fertilization.


What are the success rate of IUI when sperm problems exist?

The expected success rate for IUI is low when a woman has severe fallopian tube scarring, or pelvic distortion from scarring, because the sperm cannot reach the egg due to these mechanical issues. This situation gets even worse when sperm problems exists, such as abnormally shaped sperm, slow moving sperm, or a low sperm count.


What are success rates with IUI for women age 40 and older?

It is well-known that chances of becoming pregnant are lower for women age 40 and older. This is true with IUI as well. Most clinical studies show that the success rates for conceiving and delivering a baby for these women are:

  • 2-4% using injectables
  • 1-2% using Clomid