What Influences IUI Success Rates?

When undergoing an IUI procedure, the main question on everyone’s mind is how likely they are to get pregnant through IUI. Just like with any other type of medical operation, there are many different factors that influence the success of IUI. 


The first determinant is the age of the woman who is trying to conceive. The main cut-off line is around 40 years of age. It is said that when you age above 40, it becomes more difficult to conceive through IUI. Most doctors recommend that if a woman over 40 does try IUI, she only go through one cycle, because if that fails, it will become clear that her more viable route would be IVF.

Women who are under 40 have a bit more freedom in their attempts at IUI. Unlike women who are above 40, studies have shown that it could prove to be beneficial to try IUI up to 3 or even 4 times before moving on to another option. One study has found that in the first three attempts via IUI, the combined success rate was approaching 40% on the third cycle. Unfortunately, the drastic rises in success percentages seem to drop off after 3 or 4 attempts.

IUI Treatment

Male Infertility

Male infertility becomes a factor in a lot of IUI procedures. If the male infertility is not an extreme case, the success of IUI will drop off only slightly, but if there are extreme male infertility issues, IUI may not be the couple’s best option. If a woman or couple decide to use a sperm donor, IUI is more than likely going to be a good option. The sperm donor success rates then become more dependent on the severity of the female’s infertility. Sperm count is one of the facets of male infertility. If the male has a critically low sperm count, the likeliness of the woman conceiving does not look very good. On the flip-side of that, as the sperm count rises, so does the success of pregnancy.  Sperm count is often the deciding factor as to whether a sperm donor will be used or not.

One of the biggest reasons why couples turn to IUI is that it is cost effective. In comparison to its closest relative, IVF, IUI is significantly less expensive. One cycle of IUI costs, on average, $3000, while one IVF treatment is most commonly around $12000. This sounds like an incredibly better deal, but you have to keep in mind that you may have to try IUI up to 3 times, which would end up costing you around $9000. But at the end of most cases IUI will cost you less than IVF, and this simple fact is a huge reason why people have been turning to IUI more and more steadily.

Fertility Drugs

The usage of fertility drugs is another big determinant in the success of IUI. In cases where the patients have taken no fertility drugs, the rates of success were considerably lower than for patients who did take fertility drugs. The reasons for this seem pretty obvious, however, some doctors still believe that fertility drugs are not necessary, but those doctors are few and far between. In a lot of cases, if fertility drugs are neglected, the likeliness of IUI resulting in pregnancy is no more likely than the couple’s chances of conceiving through natural means.

Understanding Success Rates

The exact success rates for IUI vary depending on who you ask, but most would agree that the success of a pregnancy after the first cycle is between 10% and 20%. If these rates look low, there is no need to worry, because it is very common that the rate of success rises additionally as high as 16% per cycle. This additional success with additional attempts is not infinite, in fact, after 3 or 4 cycles the additional marginal success drops off significantly to around 3-5% per cycle. A study also found that after 6 cycles of IUI, the expected success rate was between 60% and 70%. This, of course, is a very idealistic study, considering the cost of 6 cycles. 

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