Fertility and pregnancy

Trying for a baby?

Lying down may boost pregnancy

Women who lie down for 15 minutes after artificial insemination boost their chances of getting pregnant, new research suggests.

Researchers from the Netherlands found that 27% of women who laid down after being artificially inseminated went on to have a baby compared with only 17% who stood up and moved around after the procedure.

In the study, 391 couples having fertility treatment were monitored to find out if lying down immediately after artificial insemination improved pregnancy rates. All women underwent intrauterine insemination which involves the partner's sperm being placed directly into the uterus.

Around half of the women were asked to lie down for 15 minutes after insemination, and the other half allowed to move around immediately after treatment.

The results, published online in today's British Medical Journal, showed that pregnancy and birth rates in women who laid down were "significantly higher" than in the women who moved around.

However, if fertility clinics decided to adopt this method, they would need to provide more time and space for women undergoing treatment.

Study leader Dr. Inge Custers from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam said: “Although immobilisation takes more time and occupies more space in busy rooms, the intervention will be economic in the long run, as pregnant patients will not return in subsequent cycles.”

The scientists say it is not clear why lying down improves the success of artificial insemination but thought that moving around after treatment may cause "leakage".

In an accompanying editorial, Professor William Ledger from the University of Sheffield said that while the results showed promise, further research was needed.

He suggested that fertility units carry out their own evaluation to test the hypothesis in the “real world and that “if successful, more couples could be spared the rigorous and costly process of in vitro fertilisation.”

This article was published on Fri 30 October 2009

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