How Long to Abstain Before an IUI: IUI FAQs Mega Guide [2022]

If you are considering or preparing for the IUI procedure, you are bound to have a multitude of questions. For example, how long should you abstain before an IUI?

The length of time one should abstain from ejaculatory abstinence prior to an IUI procedure is 2 days for the highest fertilization rate per cycle. Studies have shown that longer ejaculatory abstinence wait times do not lead to an increased success rate of pregnancy.

How long to abstain before an IUI may vary according to your circumstances, but it should not be more than 72 hours since a previous ejaculation to ensure optimal motility and shape.

If IUI is being done due to a low sperm count, it’s preferable to wait 48 hours between ejaculation and collecting sperm for the IUI.

To increase sperm count and guarantee that sperm are healthy and strong for an IUI, ejaculation should be abstained for 2-3 days before delivering a sperm sample. Studies suggest that 2-day abstinence yields the highest fertility rates.

Mom holding her smiling baby.

IUI is considered for patients who have had difficulty conceiving a child naturally. For couples under the age of 35, this might imply up to a year of unprotected intercourse.

If you’ve been having unprotected intercourse for six months and are over 35, you could be a candidate for IUI.

In addition, applicants for IUI should be in good general health and not have any medical issues that would jeopardize their overall well-being.

Now let’s dive into our IUI FAQs so you can become more educated about the IUI procedure.

What Is an IUI?

A tiny catheter is used to put sperm directly into the uterus during an intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment. The purpose of this treatment is to increase the quantity of healthy sperm that enter the fallopian tubes when the woman is most fertile, enhancing the odds of conception.

What Is the Success Rate for IUI?

The IUI procedure’s success rate is determined by various factors, including age and underlying reproductive issues. Let’s look at the success rates of IUI in these two groups.

Fertility Issues

To conceive, women with irregular menstrual cycles or who do not ovulate require medication. The doctor may be able to detect concerns that are affecting your success rate through a diagnostic.

  • IUI success rates range from 7% to 10% every cycle if you have healthy eggs and two fallopian tubes and are having unexplained infertility. The success rate of IUI treatment in conjunction with fertility drugs increases by 15-25 percent.
  • One of the fallopian tubes is obstructed when one of the fertile tubes is open. Pregnancy is possible, although the success probability is dependent on where the obstruction is located. The success rate of IUI is 11.7 percent if the obstruction is near the ovary. The odds of success are roughly 38.1 percent if it’s close to the uterus.
  • IUI success rates are roughly 16.9% if the expectant father is suffering from male factor infertility.

Age of the Prospective Mother

The quality of a woman’s eggs decreases as she gets older, lowering her chances of conceiving. As a result, IUI is rarely suggested for women over the age of 40.

  • The success rate for women in their early 30s or younger is roughly 20-25 percent.
  • Intrauterine Insemination has a success rate of 15-20% for women between the ages of 30 and 35.
  • After IUI, women between 35-40 had a 10% chance of becoming pregnant. By their early 40s, the success rate had dropped to around 5%.

What Is Sperm Washing?

Sperm washing is a method of sperm preparation that is necessary prior to intrauterine insemination (IVF) because it eliminates contaminants from the sperm that might induce negative uterine responses. Sperm is isolated from seminal fluid during the sperm-washing procedure. In situations of immune system problems, male-factor infertility, or unexplained infertility, this technique improves the fertilizing potential of the sperm.

How Long Does Washed Sperm Live?

Washed sperm can last anywhere from 6 to 48 hours after being washed. It should not be stored for an extended period of time. As a result, the timing of IUI is so critical that insemination should be done within 3 hours or as soon as possible.

Will IUI Work After Tubal Ligation?

IUI will not work for women who have undergone tubal ligation since the tubal ligation procedure prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterine wall. During the IUI procedure, sperm is implanted into the uterus in hopes the sperm makes its way naturally through the fallopian tubes and fertilizes an egg.

You’ve had your IUI, so why are there no pregnancy symptoms?

Can IUI Be Used for Gender Selection?

Microsort is the only method for gender selection in intrauterine insemination (IUI). Although many clinics provide sperm spinning by weight, often known as Erickson’s technique, it pales in comparison to micro-sorting technology. While this technique isn’t widely used and isn’t appropriate for every patient, there are some circumstances where sperm micro-sorting might be the answer to family balancing.

Who Is a Good Candidate for IUI?

IUI is advised for patients who have had difficulty conceiving a child naturally. For couples under the age of 35, this might imply up to a year of unprotected intercourse. If you’ve been having unprotected intercourse for six months and are over 35, you could be a candidate for IUI.

When is IUI Not Recommended?

If any of the following apply to you, you may not be a good candidate for IUI:

  • Your fallopian tubes are obstructed.
  • You’ve reached menopause or your ovarian reserve has dwindled. As women become older, this becomes more prevalent.
  • If the sperm count or motility is exceedingly low, severe male infertility is an issue.
  • Your endometriosis is severe.

How Does a Male Fertility Test Work?

A male fertility test works by examining sperm under a microscope that has been ejaculated into a cup. Abstaining from ejaculation for 48 hours is recommended for the best outcome. To acquire a clearer view of sperm production, some providers will perform two semen tests on different days.

How Many Times Should I Try IUI Before IVF?

Over the last 15 years, the average number of IUIs performed before IVF has declined dramatically. In the early 1990s, most couples would undertake 3-6 IUI cycles before moving on to IVF therapy; currently, most couples chose IVF after 2 or 3 unsuccessful artificial insemination rounds.

Learn ways to improve your chances of having a successful IUI with these tips.

What Are the Risks of IUI?

IUI is a reasonably straightforward and safe technique with minimal risk of major consequences. The following are some of the risks:

  • Infection as a result of the procedure.
  • Spotting may occur which is a small amount of vaginal bleeding during the procedure from inserting the catheter into the uterus. This normally has no bearing on the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
  • IUI isn’t linked to a higher chance of multiple pregnancies, such as twins, triplets, or more. When combined with ovulation-inducing medicines, however, the chance of multiple pregnancies skyrockets. Early labor and low birth weight are more likely in multiple pregnancies than in single pregnancies.

What Fertility Drugs Are Used with IUI?

Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) and aromatase inhibitors  (e.g., Letrozole) are common reproductive medicines used during IUI cycles. These medications will be started on the second, third, fourth, or fifth day following the first day of your period, depending on how early in your menstrual cycle you are.

What Is a Good Sperm Count for IUI?

For an IUI to be effective, the amount of motile sperm after processing the sperm sample should be around 5 million or higher.

How Much Does IUI Cost?

IUI costs between $300 and $1,000 without insurance and is often less costly than IVF and other reproductive procedures. In a few places, health insurance companies are required to cover part or all of the expenses of infertility treatment if specific criteria are met.

Can I Have Sex During IUI Fertility Treatment?

There are usually minimal limits on intercourse when a couple is undergoing IUI therapy. The day after the “trigger shot,” however, is the sole time when intercourse is severely discouraged. The trigger shot permits eggs to mature to their full potential before ovulating into the fallopian tubes.

Does Abstinence Make Sperm Stronger?

According to research, serum volume and sperm counts rise after two days of abstinence in males with normal sperm counts. However, after two days of abstinence, sperm quality, motility (movement), and morphology (shape) decrease, with a major influence after seven to ten days.

How Is Sperm Collected for IUI?

Sperm for IUI is commonly collected by the man masturbating into a sterile glass or plastic cup given by the doctor’s office or andrology laboratory specializing in male health concerns. During intercourse, sperm can be collected in a special condom provided by the doctor. If a guy suffers retrograde ejaculation, the sperm can be extracted from the urine he has collected in the laboratory.

How Much Sperm Is Needed for IUI?

A high sperm count and motility are required for a successful IUI procedure. IUI relies on the capacity of the sperm to swim and find the egg, therefore, in order for IUI to be successful, the amount of motile sperm after processing the sperm sample should be around 5 million or higher.

A sample with 1 to 5 million motile cells has a much-reduced success rate, while processed sperm samples with less than 1 million motile sperm cells are highly unlikely to result in successful fertilization.

Is low sperm count a concern? Your questions are answered here.

Can I Take Pain Medications Before or After IUI?

After your IUI, there may be some little pain and/or spotting. IUI patients can take Tylenol for cramping if necessary, but blood-thinning pain medicines like naproxen or ibuprofen should be avoided.

What is the IUI Procedure?

IUI stands for intrauterine insemination, which is a form of artificial insemination used to treat infertility.

Around the time your ovary produces one or more eggs to be fertilized, cleaned, and concentrated sperm is inserted directly into your uterus.

The goal of IUI is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize an egg waiting to be fertilized, resulting in a pregnancy. IUI can be used with your regular cycle or with fertility medicines, depending on the cause of infertility.

Does an IUI Hurt?

Pain medication or anesthesia is not required during the minimally invasive IUI procedure. As the catheter is inserted into the cervix, patients may feel a mild pinching sensation (similar to that felt during a regular pap screening) and a little discomfort. Pain medications are strongly discouraged and typically not needed.

Can IUI Be Done at Home?

A medical professional nearly always performs IUIs in a medical setting. That isn’t to say that IUI can’t be done at home. For this process, some certified midwives make house visits.

In a 2017 research of three sets of couples (ages 20 to 33 years, 33 to 36 years, and 36 and older), home insemination was found to be a successful method of producing a pregnancy, with success rates of 69 percent, 43 percent, and 25% in the three groups across six cycles. – Courtesy of PubMed Central.

The most critical elements for success rates are nailing the optimal insemination time, the quality and quantity of the sperm sample, and the age and hormones in the body being inseminated, not the building where the insemination takes place.

How Long Does IUI Take?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) normally takes 15 to 20 minutes and takes place in a doctor’s office or clinic. The IUI procedure takes only a few minutes and does not require any drugs or painkillers. Your doctor or a specially trained nurse performs the procedure.

Do I Have to Lie Down After an IUI?

You should stay lying down for 15 minutes after an IUI, as researchers have found that laying down for 15 minutes after the IUI procedure boosts conception rates. All women treated undergoing the IUI procedure should be provided 15 minutes of immobility, according to the researchers.

What Should You Do After IUI?

Following your IUI process, there are a few things you must do that will increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. 

Take a Break After IUI

Your doctor will ask you to lie down for a few minutes after the sperm are implanted in your uterus. 

Take total rest for a few days after you’ve been discharged from the clinic to minimize any possible cramping you may be experiencing. 

It’s preferable if you keep any local or professional travel to a minimum. 

Also, if you experience any discomfort or anxiety, get some rest right away.

Eat Healthy After IUI

Following the IUI procedure, your doctor will advise you to consume a healthy and balanced diet. To enhance fertilization, it’s preferable if you keep fit and healthy. A good diet will provide all the necessary nutrients for IUI success. Consume vitamin D-rich foods to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Maintain a Positive Attitude After IUI

Stress and anxiety about the potential success or failure of IUI will mess with your hormonal balance and interfere with your chances of a successful IUI. It is recommended to maintain a healthy mental state and avoid unpleasant thoughts. Go for walks and do things that lift you mentally.

Light Exercise After IUI

You can begin participating in physical activities after a few days of insemination. Blood flow to the uterus and other reproductive organs will be improved. After a few days of relaxation, stretching and yoga are ideal.

Attend a Follow-up With Your Doctor After IUI

Your doctor may wish to test your hormone levels as well as offer you a hormonal supplement that helps increase the success rate of your IUI. Follow-up visits with your doctor typically occur about one week after insemination, and your physician can advise you on how to confirm your pregnancy.

Take Prescribed Medications After IUI

Your doctor may prescribe various medications to boost the chances of conception. Make sure you follow the doctor’s directions and take the medication as prescribed.

What Should You Not Do After IUI?

There are several things you should not do after an IUI. Below we cover some important things you should avoid after IUI.

Avoid Stress After IUI

Stress changes the balance of hormones in your body, which has influence your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. More than one IUI attempt may be needed, and some couples have conceived after many IUI tries. You shouldn’t be concerned about IUI failure on the first try.

Do Not Take Pain Relievers After IUI

You may have cramping and soreness after the IUI process, which is quite normal. This cramping tends to be mild and tolerable for most patients. You are, however, strongly discouraged from taking any kind of pain medication after your IUI. Taking painkillers may lower the chances of IUI success.

Avoid Heavy Lifting After IUI

Do not lift anything that is too heavy. It’s one of the most crucial things to stay away from since it can induce cramping and even harm the uterus’s lining.

Avoid Swimming After IUI

Swimming should be avoided for up to 48 hours after IUI. Simply put, why risk water entering the vaginal canal and interfering with progress? It’s highly unlikely that swimming will have a negative outcome on an IUI procedure, but the recommendation is to wait 48 hours.

Stay Away From Radiation Exposure After IUI

Radiation in general is associated with risks of fertility problems. You should avoid handling chemicals and high-radiation devices after IUI therapy. You are advised to avoid all forms of radiation even after you have given birth. Long durations of exposure to direct sunshine or heat might also reduce the odds of becoming pregnant.

Do Not Smoke or Consume Alcohol After IUI

Complications with infertility can be caused by smoking, drinking, or drug usage. You must avoid them even after you have conceived since they may cause malformation or irregular growth in your child.

How Long After IUI Does Implantation Occur?

Implantation usually occurs 6-12 days after the IUI procedure which was done on the day of ovulation. Some women may have symptoms as early as 5 days after conception, but they won’t know for sure if they’re pregnant until much later. This can be a very exciting time, as the anticipation runs high.

How Do I Know My IUI Is Successful?

To know an IUI was successful requires taking a pregnancy test 14 days following the IUI treatment. Using a pregnancy test before this time can create undue apprehension and stress, as the accuracy of pregnancy tests before 14 days produces less accurate results.

What Happens After IUI?

So you’ve had your IUI procedure. Now what? What happens after IUI? If you have had successful implantation, you have a good probability of getting pregnant. After the procedure, you are encouraged to follow your doctor’s instructions:

  • Consume a well-balanced, low-fat, high-protein diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid using illicit substances, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Please don’t accept any tension and find a way to deal with it.
  • Make an effort to be physically active, but avoid putting yourself through strenuous training to reduce weight.
  • A prenatal vitamin will be prescribed to you.

Three Days After IUI

After your IUI procedure, you may notice some little bleeding. This is caused by irritation of the sensitive tissues in the vaginal and cervix caused by the catheter being inserted during your procedure.

This is not to be confused with implantation bleeding. By three days, the first spotting has typically stopped.

Implantation and Beyond Six Days After IUI

Implantation will be attempted six days after the procedure, around one week following the IUI treatment. Now is the moment to begin monitoring. Light spotting may appear and may happen during implantation.

Cramps and spotting during implantation may or may not be a symptom of conception. In fact, many women do not experience these symptoms. The absence of any symptoms does not rule out the possibility of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Some women may have symptoms as early as 5 days after conception, but they won’t know for sure if they’re pregnant until much later.

Some early pregnancy symptoms may be:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Exhaustion
  • Vomiting
  • Soreness in the breasts

How Soon After IUI Can I Have Intercourse?

Intercourse after IUI is generally unrestricted and can happen at any time. If there was a problem during the IUI, you may be advised to wait two days before having intercourse. However, intercourse is strongly discouraged the day after the “trigger shot”. The trigger shot permits eggs to fully mature before ovulating into the fallopian tubes.

Will Sperm Come Out After IUI?

The sperm does not come out once it has been put into the uterus. Because the catheter loosens mucus in the cervix and allows it to come out, there may be more dampness following the surgery. Some doctors may opt to place a cup over the cervix to avoid leaks, but most deem this unnecessary.

Can You Go Swimming After IUI?

You can go swimming after an IUI, yet it is recommended that you wait at least 48 hours before swimming. Although there has been no indication that swimming or bathing interferes with IUI, it is better to be cautious. You’ve invested your time and finances for your IUI procedure, so play it safe.

Is Bleeding Normal After IUI?

Modest bleeding is normal after IUI and is caused by the catheter irritating the tissues of the cervix and vaginal canal. When spotting develops after IUI, it usually appears right after the procedure. Although not all women will bleed, those who do should only have minimal spotting.


Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.