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Understanding failed IUIs for intended parents

Vicken Sahakian
10 Aug 2019

When patients come to Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles, we perform a thorough series of fertility tests to determine the most likely cause of infertility, and determine the most promising fertility treatment methods. 

There are usually multiple fertility treatments that could be helpful, and patients often choose the least invasive and most affordable treatment method to start.

IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is one of the most common infertility treatments, because it is minimally invasive. Unfortunately, IUI is not always a success. After failed IUIs, IVF may be a good alternative for our Los Angeles, CA, patients. IVF, or in vitro fertilization, oversees most of the stages of conception to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.

Why does IUI fail? 

During IUI treatment, a collected sperm sample is inserted directly into a woman’s uterus while she is ovulating. This shortens the distance that sperm needs to travel to reach the egg and increases the chance of conception. In many cases, we perform ovarian stimulation prior to IUI so that it is more likely the woman will have mature eggs that are ready for fertilization.

Many of our Los Angeles patients want to know the success rate of IUI, but that is difficult to calculate. The success of IUI depends on a number of factors, such as the age of the patients (both male and female), the overall fertility health of the patients, and how many IUI attempts are made.

When to move on from failed IUIs 

Although IUI is considered a viable and successful fertility treatment option, it is not uncommon for a patient’s first IUI attempt to fail. Our fertility doctors do not typically recommend that our Los Angeles patients give up on IUI after a single failed IUI, as it may take two or three attempts for a successful intrauterine insemination procedure.

Deciding when to move on from failed IUIs and considering a more comprehensive fertility treatment, such as IVF, is a largely personal decision. Patients need to consider the emotional toll that failed IUI attempts are taking, how much each IUI cycle costs, and whether they will be able to afford IVF down the road if they continue with IUI treatments.

Our fertility specialists can help patients consider the pros and cons of continuing IUI attempts, or moving on to IVF treatment. Although the decision does vary from patient to patient, it is common for patients to progress to IVF treatment after they have had three failed IUI treatments.

IVF treatment after failed IUIs 

As with IUI treatment, IVF success depends on a number of different factors. However, IVF in general does have a higher success rate than IUI. This is because IVF differs from IUI in a number of key ways:

  • During IVF viable eggs are retrieved from the ovaries
  • Collected eggs are fertilized with sperm in a lab setting
  • The most viable embryo(s) are transferred to the uterus

Since IVF assists with many stages of the conception process, it bypasses many of the most common causes of infertility. IVF may be the ideal treatment option for patients who have experienced prior fertility treatment failures, including failed IUIs.

Plan for your family, today

At Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles, our doctors offer a wide range of fertility services to help patients who are struggling to conceive. If you would like to learn more about our fertility treatment options, contact us at your earliest convenience.

Book a consultation

Note: This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided is for general educational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Speak to your doctor directly with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any information contained herein does not replace any care plan as determined by a physician. 

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