Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Improving IUI success by performing modified slow-release insemination and a patient-centred approach in an insemination programme with partner semen: a prospective cohort study

W. Ombelet 1,2, I. Van der Auwera 1, H. Bijnens 1, J. Onofre 1, C. Kremer 3, L. Bruckers 3, G. Mestdagh 1, R. Campo 1, N. Dhont 1

1 Genk Institute for Fertility Technology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk, Belgium
2 Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Martelarenlaan 42, Hasselt, Belgium
3 Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and Statistical Bioinformatics, Data Science Institute, Hasselt University, Martelarenlaan 42, Hasselt, Belgium.


clinical pregnancy rate, infertility, intrauterine insemination, IUI, homologous, patient-centred care, slow-release insemination

Published online: Jan 12 2022


Background: Pregnancy rates after in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment continue to improve, while intrauterine insemination (IUI) programmes show no such trend. There is a need to improve success rates with IUI to retain it as a viable option for couples who prefer avoiding IVF as a first line treatment.

Objective: To investigate if a modified slow-release insemination (SRI) increases the clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) after intrauterine insemination (IUI) with partner semen.

Materials and Methods: This was a prospective cohort study in a Belgian tertiary fertility centre. Between July 2011 and December 2018, we studied data from an ongoing prospective cohort study including 989 women undergoing 2565 IUI procedures for unexplained or mild/moderate male infertility. These data were analysed in order to study the importance of different covariates influencing IUI success. Generalised estimating equations (GEEs) were used for statistical analysis. Results of two periods (2011-2015, period 1 and 2016-2018, period 2) were examined and compared. From January 2016 (period 2) onwards, a standardised SRI procedure instead of bolus injection of sperm was applied. The primary outcome parameter was the difference in clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) per cycle between period 1 (bolus IUI) and period 2 (modified SRI). Secondary outcome results included all other parameters significantly influencing CPR after IUI.

Results: Following the application of modified SRI the CPR increased significantly, from 9.03% (period 1) to 13.52% (period 2) (p = 0.0016). Other covariates significantly influencing CPR were partner’s age, smoking/non-smoking partner, BMI patient, ovarian stimulation protocol and Inseminating Motile Count (after semen processing).

Conclusions: The intentional application of modified slow-release of processed semen appears to significantly increase CPRs after IUI with homologous semen. Future studies should investigate whether SRI, patient-centred measures, or a combination of both, are responsible for this improvement.