According to researchers, there is one thing that women undergoing artificial insemination can do that might help increase their chances of getting pregnant: Nothing.
In a study of intrauterine insemination success rates, 390 couples were given three cycles of treatment. Half the women were instructed to lie still for fifteen minutes after the procedure. The other half were allowed to get up and move around immediately after the treatment. After the first cycle, 10% of the women who were still for fifteen minutes became pregnant. This is compared to 7% of the women who were active immediately after the procedure.
The second and third cycles of insemination produced similar results: 10% of the women who were immobile became pregnant during the second cycle and 7% during the third. Of the women who got up immediately after treatment, the success rates were again lower: only 5% became pregnant after each of the second and third cycles.
The results of the study, published in the British Medical Journal, have surprised researchers. In the past, studies have shown that the sperm reaches the egg within a couple of minutes. But, as Professor William Ledger of the University of Sheffield points out, the findings do support the “intuitive idea” that laying on your back with your feet up allows gravity to help things along.
Despite the fact that at 10%, the success rates in this study were actually lower than the average UK success rate of 12% for women under 35, clinics in the Netherlands have already adjusted the way they manage patients to allow for this extra time for lying still.