Improving IUI Success Rates Using Ovulation Tests
Jul 11, 2022 | By Kacie Shrock, RN, BSN
If you have been thinking about the next steps on your fertility journey, you have probably heard of an Intrauterine Insemination, or IUI. One thing to consider before jumping into a new treatment plan is the overall success rates. By tracking ovulation and ensuring correct timing of your insemination, you can optimize your best chances for a successful cycle. So, let's get to it!
The IUI Process
An Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a form of assisted reproduction done in-office with a fertility specialist, where washed sperm are placed directly into the uterus, in hopes to improve fertilization rates by placing the sperm closer to the egg with a small flexible catheter. An IUI is a lot less invasive and a lot more affordable than in vitro fertilization (IVF) and is often attempted before moving towards IVF.
The insemination is timed dependent on your ovulation date and can be performed as a natural cycle, meaning no fertility medications are used, or as a medicated cycle, with the use of fertility medications that stimulate and trigger ovulation. This will be discussed and decided with a fertility specialist. This is a very time sensitive procedure as your doctor will want to ensure the sperm are in the uterus just prior to or during ovulation. This is why it is so important to use ovulation tests during your IUI cycle to ensure you don’t miss your fertile window - we will get to this shortly!
Let’s Talk IUI Success Rates
There is a lot that goes into success rates for a single cycle IUI and many factors to consider, however commonly cited success rates for an IUI range from about 10-20% success per cycle. That may seem low, but there are a few factors that go into consideration for these success rates including age, diagnosis and the timing of the IUI. It’s also important to note that at the peak of fertility, when trying to conceive through intercourse, there is also only a 10-20% chance of conceiving naturally each cycle.
Your doctor will discuss any significant diagnoses with you that may affect your success rates for IUI which may include unexplained infertility, diminished ovarian reserve, PCOS, endometriosis or male factor infertility. Some of these diagnoses may increase or decrease success rates, however your doctor will go into further detail about your individual case and predicted success rates. Always feel free to ask your doctor questions or seek out second opinions, you know your body and desires best so always advocate for your needs and interests.
One of the best ways to optimize your chances of success with IUI is ensuring that the insemination is timed accurately. This is a very time sensitive procedure as you want to ensure the sperm are in the uterus just prior to or during ovulation. Once ovulation occurs, the mature egg has about 12-24 hours to be fertilized by sperm.
As ovulation is approaching, the hormone estrogen begins to rise and once it is sufficiently high, it triggers a sudden release of LH (Luteinizing Hormone). This LH surge triggers the final maturation and release of an egg from the ovary. This hormone can be easily picked up in urine and detected at home by using LH kits, also known as Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs). Once an LH surge is detected with ovulation tests, ovulation will occur 24-36 hours after the peak.
Your doctor may suggest that you use ovulation kits to appropriately find your LH peak to accurately time the IUI. Since the sperm can survive for up to 3-5 days and the egg can only survive for about 12-24 hours, if you inseminate too early or too late, you risk inseminating at the wrong time.
By tracking ovulation with Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs), you can help improve your chances for a successful IUI by ensuring the sperm are placed in the uterus during your fertile window. Once you identify your peak, you want to call your doctor right away so you can schedule your insemination as soon as possible.
Why track Ovulation using Premom for an IUI?
Premom ovulation tests are the only LH strips on the market to quantify your LH hormone level and digitize your ovulation cycle. The Premom LH kits work best with the app and have been proven to successfully predict ovulation. No matter if you are doing a natural cycle IUI or an orally medicated IUI cycle (using Clomid or Letrozole), ovulation tests are the best way to track your peak accurately at home when timing an insemination.
We recommend testing anytime between 10:00AM-8:00PM, as this is when LH levels tend to be the highest in the urine.
Although the initial success rates for an IUI may seem low at 10-20% per cycle, you can optimize your chances by tracking ovulation to ensure the insemination is being scheduled accurately. If you are feeling concerned about the success rates of an IUI, talk it out with your doctor and remember, everyone is different, what didn’t work for someone else may work perfectly for you!
In need of tests? Premom quantitative ovulation test strips and Easy@home ovulation predictor kits work best with the app. They have trusted quality and are super easy to use! Download the free Premom app to get started!