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How many IUIs should each couple try before moving on to IVF?

IVFThe field of medicine has advanced immensely, and couples who are unable to conceive naturally no longer have to suffer in silence. There are many Assistive Reproductive Techniques available, couples can choose amongst them after discussing with their doctor. Out of all the ART procedures, Intrauterine insemination(IUI) is usually suggested as the first one to try out. The procedure is relatively simpler with high chances of success. But how many attempts should one try before switching over to other advanced procedures like IVF? This question usually lingers in couples’ minds if IUI has not yielded results on the first try. In this blog, let us understand the factors determining IUI’s success and when the couple should change their treatment methodology.

A brief about IUI

IUI treatment gets started after a thorough medical assessment of both men and women. Men go through semen analysis, whereas in the case of women, various hormone levels are analyzed. 

IUI or intrauterine insemination or donor or artificial insemination works by putting sperm cells directly into your uterus. This procedure is done around the time of ovulation to help the sperms get closer to your eggs. This cuts down on the time and distance sperm has to travel to fertilize your egg. No anaesthesia is needed, and it is done in full bladder condition under ultrasound guidance. Fertility expert will suggest IUI under various circumstances such as:-

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  • Mild male factor infertility:- This is characterized by below-average sperm concentration, low motility of sperm, or abnormal sperm size and shape. During the sperm processing, the highly motile and good sperm are separated• 
  • Ovulatory factor infertility. IUI has opted in cases of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS) in women.
  • If the female’s cervical mucus is scanty or hostile to sperm. 
  • Male infertility due to antibodies in his sperm.
  • Unexplained infertility where the couple’s reproductive health is healthy, but still they are unable to conceive.
  • If either one of the partners has HIV, hepatitis B, Hepatitis C
  • Couples who abstain from intercourse due to any disability, injury or non-medical reasons.
  • If the couple is using a donor sperm

When should you stop trying IUI and switch to IVF?

Fertility treatments are emotionally draining on the couple as well as their families. It is quite expensive too and a lot of time needs to be spent. So one question every fertility doctor gets asked is, “How many attempts of IUI should be made before moving on to other methods of treatments?” 

What factors determine the number of cycles for a successful IUI?

The infertility problems vary from couple to couple, and so does their treatment and the response of their bodies towards the respective procedure. Success depends on various factors, and most importantly, on age. If the woman is below 35 years of age, they can get pregnant in 3 to 4 cycles. But for women above the age of 35, this line of treatment may not yield successful results. Hence, have a thorough discussion with your doctor before fixing any one treatment option.

  • If the woman is under the age of 35, the probability of success is 10-20% per cycle. 
  • In women between the ages of 35 and 40, the success rate is 10%. 
  • For ages above 40, the percentage drops significantly to 2 to 5%.
  • Regardless of any age, after three attempts, the odds of successfully conceiving are very rare.

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IUI couples with ovulation induction, the chances of pregnancy are doubled. Ovulation induction is when the female is administered drugs such as Clomid, Letrozole, or injectable hormones. This additional help will boost ovulation and thus increase the chances of pregnancy. So for women under 35, the doctor’s recommendation is to wait for three rounds of IUI before switching over to an IVF. For over 35 years, this number will be much lower. 

Know beforehand !!!

Please have a thorough discussion on how many IUIs would be appropriate as per your unique reason for opting for an IUI. As seen above, the list of choices for an IUI is vast, so after an initial diagnosis,  your fertility expert may feel that you might need to move on sooner than the above-mentioned numbers.

Most important is that you and your partner should decide on how many cycles you go through. Please bear in mind the cost factor as well the time that you have to wait. Be frank about your limitations before you even start. You will need lots of emotional support from your family and friends to be successful in any Assisted Reproductive Technique – ART.

We at ZIVA Fertility Centers, give lots of importance to the individual assessment of every couple. Before recommending any treatment, we understand their medical as well as financial situations and then proceed. Our experienced, well-qualified and recognized doctors will clear your doubts and recommend the best for getting positive pregnancy results. Please reach out to us at 91-9100002737, +91-9392834024, and let us help you.