Does Lying Down after IUI Help Increase Success?


A new study challenges the idea that lying down keeps sperm from trickling out of the cervix after intrauterine insemination (IUI).

woman_laying_downIn a study presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) 2016 convention in Helsinki, Finland, the question of whether lying down after IUI (intrauterine insemination) was addressed. For years, clinics have been having patients lie flat, or perhaps even with hips elevated, after performing an intrauterine insemination.

The thought was that sperm may trickle out of the cervix, thus lowering the success rate. If a patient were to lie still, then perhaps more sperm would make it to the ends of the fallopian tubes where they would meet the awaiting egg to help ensure pregnancy success.

Fascinating research has previously shown that after intrauterine insemination, sperm reach the ends of the tubes within 3 to 10 minutes. So many clinics have adopted the practice of keeping patients lying still for 10 minutes after IUI.

Well, the question of To Lie or Not To Lie (down) was put to rest by the largest randomized study to look at immobilization following IUI. In this study nearly 500 patients were monitored over 2,000 cycles to determine whether immobilization helped increase the pregnancy rate.

Interestingly, the cumulative ongoing pregnancy rate per couple was 32.2 percent in the group that was immobilized and 40.3 percent in the group that was allowed to get up and leave immediately after IUI. This difference was not statistically significant, meaning immobilization did not hurt patients. However, it clearly provided no benefit. If the study had similar results with even larger numbers, it then would have shown that immobilization actually may have lowered patients’ success rates.

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The study was not designed to give a reason to explain the findings, so we are left to surmise on our own why immobilization may have been a non-factor. Theories have been put forth that immobilization may cause undue stress to patients, which might affect success rates. Studies looking at bed rest after embryo transfer had suggested similar findings.

If you are trying to conceive naturally at home, the study is not applicable. There has yet to be a study that is randomized looking at immobilization or bed rest after intercourse, so the verdict is still out as to whether a woman should lie still or with her hips elevated after intercourse. However, this study gives confidence to clinics and patients that immobilization after IUI is unnecessary and does not increase the success.

Therefore patients should get up, get dressed, and get going on planning to be a pregnant mom!