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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF

Understanding IUI Failure and its Symptoms

  • Published on March 18, 2024
Understanding IUI Failure and its Symptoms

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a common fertility treatment that introduces selected and prepared sperm directly into the uterus, ensuring a higher probability of successful fertilisation. Although this procedure has aided many couples in their journey towards parenthood, its success is not guaranteed. The result varies greatly depending on individual health factors such as age, underlying fertility diagnosis, and the use of fertility drugs.
IUI is often the first course of action for couples facing infertility issues, particularly low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility. Other instances where IUI might be considered include unexplained infertility, cervical mucus problems, cervical scar tissue hindering sperm entry into the uterus, and ejaculation dysfunction. However, it’s important to note that IUI is not recommended for women with severe fallopian tube diseases, a history of pelvic infections, or moderate to severe endometriosis.

How Does IUI Work?

The IUI process may be initiated with ovulation-stimulating medications to encourage the ovaries to produce eggs. Once the eggs mature, the procedure is performed around the time of ovulation, typically about 24-36 hours after the surge in LH hormone indicating imminent ovulation.
Sperm used in IUI undergoes a laboratory process to separate it from seminal fluid. This ‘washed’ sperm is then inserted directly into the uterus via a catheter, maximising the number of sperm cells reaching the uterus and thereby increasing the chances of conception. The process is brief and causes minimal discomfort.
However, certain risks are associated with IUI, including increased chances of multiple pregnancies if fertility medication is used. There is also a slight risk of infection after the procedure.
Myth: IUI success is immediate.
Fact: Success may take multiple cycles. It’s essential to manage expectations and work closely with fertility expert to optimise the chances of conception.

Recognising IUI Failure Symptoms

Understanding IUI failure symptoms is crucial for managing expectations and planning future courses of action. These symptoms may include:

  1. Negative Pregnancy Test: This indicates unsuccessful conception post-procedure, serving as a key IUI failure symptom.
  2. Onset of Menstruation: If menstruation starts on schedule without a positive pregnancy test, this suggests an unsuccessful IUI.
  3. Absence of Pregnancy Symptoms: The lack of early pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness, nausea, bloating, or fatigue may indicate unsuccessful implantation.
  4. Serial Beta-hCG Monitoring: Inappropriate rises in hormone levels during multiple tests may suggest IUI failure.
  5. Ultrasound Findings: Lack of gestational sac and fetal development are clear IUI failure symptoms.
  6. Persistent Hormonal Imbalance: Irregular hormonal levels, particularly progesterone, persisting beyond the normal post-IUI period may point to cycle failure.


1. Can IUI failure occur even if the procedure is performed correctly?

A: Yes, various factors can contribute to IUI failure, including underlying fertility issues and individual responses to treatment.

2. How soon should one seek guidance if IUI is not successful?

A: Consult your fertility expert after a few unsuccessful cycles to evaluate and adjust the treatment plan based on your circumstances.

3. What role does hormone monitoring play in detecting IUI failure?

A: Monitoring beta-hCG levels helps assess pregnancy progression. An inappropriate rise in hormone levels may suggest IUI failure. Likewise, persistent hormonal imbalances beyond the post-IUI period might indicate a failed cycle.

Written by:
Dr. Sugata Mishra

Dr. Sugata Mishra

Dr. Sugata Mishra is a fertility specialist known for her expertise in the field of reproductive medicine. She has clinical experience of over 5 years in feild of infertility and more than 10 years in GYN & OBS. Over the years, she has honed her skills in addressing complex fertility challenges such as cases of recurrent pregnancy loss, RIF and endoscopic surgery. Also, she combines fertility expertise with compassionate care, guiding patients towards their dream of parenthood. Dr. Mishra is known for her patient-friendly demeanor, ensuring that every individual feels supported and understood throughout their treatment journey.
Kolkata, West Bengal

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