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What is IUI

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilisation. The aim is to increase the number of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes and thus increase the chances of fertilisation. IUI is a type of fertility treatment in which high-quality sperm are separated from sperm that’s sluggish or non-moving. It’s commonly used by people who are using donated sperm in their treatment, including single women and female couples, but can also be used by some heterosexual couples.

IUI Treatment and Procedure

Today, most (though not all) IUI treatments begin with a short course of hormone therapy for the female partner to encourage the development of several follicles and increase the chance of pregnancy. This stimulated IUI requires close ultrasound monitoring to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancy. IUI can also be performed in a natural cycle, in which the introduction of sperm coincides with ovulation. IUI allows the body to do more on its own than IVF, so it’s a more natural but also less successful form of treatment than IVF.

IUI vs IVF

IUI is a less invasive and less expensive option compared to IVF and is the most commonly applied technique for donor insemination.  Success rates using IUI vary, and some patient groups, particularly lesbian couples and single women, can do very well. Once you’ve injected the sperm you’re allowing the body’s natural processes to take over whereas in IVF you have more control; you can check the egg has fertilised and select the best embryos to put back into the womb. Success rates for IUI are generally around a third of that for IVF. However, where there is a problem with the quality of the sperm, the chance of pregnancy has been found to decrease. Most doctors suggest that IUI be seen as a course of treatment with three or more cycles recommended.  The cycles do not have to be consecutive to be effective, although recent studies suggest that consecutive cycles are associated with a higher pregnancy rate.

Donor Insemination

The London Women’s Clinic has been treating single women and lesbian couples for over a decade and has the largest donor insemination programme in the UK.  In conjunction with our partners, the London Sperm Bank, donor sperm can be purchased via their online catalogue and with no wait for treatment.

Sperm donors are screened for sexually transmittable agents (including HIV) and genetically inherited diseases. Sperm samples are frozen and quarantined for a minimum of six months, at which point the test for HIV is repeated prior to use.

Counselling and Legal Advice

For all patients considering treatment using donor sperm, counselling is always necessary to ensure they are fully aware of the UK's legislation on the identity of sperm donors. All children born as a result of donor sperm in the UK have the right at the age of 18 to know the donor’s identity.

IUI Costs

Many women will have several cycles of IUI before they have a successful pregnancy so consider that when you’re thinking about costs of treatment.

IUI Success Rates

These statistics show our IUI success rates for our individual clinics across the country - those that successfully lead to pregnancy. All pregnancies were confirmed for foetal heartbeat by ultrasound scans.

Up to 35

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

June 2015 - July 2016

National average 36%

36-37

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 43 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

National average 31%

38-39

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 44 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

National average 24%

40-42

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 48 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

National average 18%

Three Cycle Package

Package completed June 2015 - July 2016

All ages

No national average available

Up to 35

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

June 2015 - July 2016

No national average available

36-37

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

June 2015 - July 2016

No national average available

Over 38

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 45 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

No national average available

All ages

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 48 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

No national average available

Egg share donors

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 27 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

National average 44%

Donor egg recipients

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred

June 2015 - July 2016

No national average available

All ages

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 17 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

No national average available

All ages

Pregnancy rate per embryo transferred (based on 43 cycles)

June 2015 - July 2016

National average 15% (all ages)

Verified live birth rates are available from the HFEA website. Please note that success rates have limitations as the basis for comparison and personal choice. For further advice, please visit the HFEA's advice pages.  

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