A European study has found that the practice of keeping women immobilized following intrauterine insemination has no bearing on pregnancy rates. Study results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in June.
In fact, one researcher said keeping women on bed rest following the procedure may actually harm the chances of becoming pregnant. “Indeed, it even tends to the opposite, said researcher Dr. Joukje van Rijswijk from the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam.
The study looked at 479 patients who were randomly assigned to 15 minutes of inactivity immediately following intrauterine insemination or to immediate mobilization following the procedure. The patients had several cycles of IUI, representing 950 cycles of inactivity and 984 cycles of mobilization.
Study results showed the pregnancy rate per couple was comparable between the groups. Patients who were immobilized immediate after insemination was 32.2 percent. The pregnancy rate in women who were allowed to move following insemination was 40.3 percent. The differences were not statistically significant, indicating that there was no benefit of a brief period of rest after insemination.
“In our opinion, immobilization after IUI has no positive effect on pregnancy rates, and there is no reason why patients should stay immobilized after treatment,” said Dr van Rijswijk.
Dr. van Rijswijk said the results disagreed with the medical literature that calls for a brief period of bed rest after IUI. That practice is based on two smaller studies that showed improve pregnancy rates following
“It was these previous studies showing a benefit of bed rest which prompted us to perform this study,” said Dr van Rijswijk. “Our goal was to replicate the results. There’s always a possibility that a positive outcome in studies is the result of chance. We also know from other studies that sperm cells can reach the fallopian tube five minutes after intravaginal insemination and that they can survive for several days in the womb. Why should bed rest affect that? There’s no biological explanation for a positive effect of immobilization,” which, she added, is usually carried out in a supine position with the knees raised.
“We believe our results in such a large randomized trial are solid, and sufficiently strong to render the recommendation for bed rest obsolete,” she said.
IUI is one of many fertility treatment options available at fertility clinics in New York City. Unlike embryo transfer, intrauterine insemination involves fertilizing an egg inside the uterus instead of outside the body. At our New York fertility clinic, we routinely offer this service to couples who have difficulty conceiving a child.
To learn more, please call our fertility clinic NYC at 516-612-8466 to make an appointment.