When Can I Take a Pregnancy Test after IUI?

Bobbie Fredericks
Bobbie Fredericks
Waiting at least 14 days after IUI to take a pregnancy test is recommended.
Waiting at least 14 days after IUI to take a pregnancy test is recommended.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a method of overcoming infertility. Many women wonder how soon they can take a pregnancy test after IUI. There are several factors that will influence your decision, but most doctors recommend a wait of at least two weeks.

During IUI, washed sperm is inserted through the cervix into the uterus via a catheter. It is typically performed when there is a problem with the man's sperm or the woman's cervical mucus. Introducing the sperm directly into the uterus bypasses both of these problems. IUI is also used when single women want to have children using donor sperm.

Home pregnancy test showing positive and negative results.
Home pregnancy test showing positive and negative results.

The recommendation is to wait at least 14 days before taking a pregnancy test after IUI. This is how long it will take most women to build up enough of the pregnancy hormone in their system to test positive. It is sometimes possible, however, to get a positive result sooner. Sensitive tests may be able to detect the hormone as early as nine days after IUI. Women testing that early should keep in mind that they may get a false negative result.

Taking a pregnancy test after IUI before the 14 day mark may result in a false negative.
Taking a pregnancy test after IUI before the 14 day mark may result in a false negative.

For some IUI cycles, a trigger shot of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is used. This helps trigger ovulation in order to time it right for the IUI procedure. Since hCG is also the hormone that makes a pregnancy test positive, women who have had the trigger shot should wait longer before taking a pregnancy test after IUI. It usually takes eight to ten days for this to happen, but can take up to 14 days or longer. Some women take an inexpensive pregnancy test every day until it is negative, which means the hCG from the shot is gone and future tests will be accurate.

If you get a negative pregnancy test but no period after IUI, wait a few days and test again.
If you get a negative pregnancy test but no period after IUI, wait a few days and test again.

If you take a pregnancy test after IUI before the 14 day mark, you may get a false negative. This happens when you are pregnant but there is not enough hCG built up in your system to turn a test positive. Different tests have different levels of sensitivity. Those that say you can test before your period are the most sensitive, but you can still get a false negative. If you have gotten a negative pregnancy test after IUI but still have not gotten your menstrual period, wait a few days and test again.

During IUI, washed sperm is inserted through the cervix into the uterus via a catheter.
During IUI, washed sperm is inserted through the cervix into the uterus via a catheter.

For the most accurate results, pregnancy tests should be taken using the first urine elimination of the day, but if you forget you should hold your urine for at least four hours before testing again. If you have waited at least 14 days after IUI to test and you get a negative result but still have not gotten your menstrual period, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will probably do a pregnancy test using a blood sample, which detects lower levels than urine testing.

What Happens After IUI Day by Day?

Intrauterine insemination works to bypass some of the issues preventing conception. The entire visit should take less than a half-hour in your doctor's office. IUI only takes a few minutes and does not need any sedatives or pain killers.

During IUI 

IUI starts similarly to a pelvic exam. The doctor or nurse will have you lie back and guide you through the procedure, which includes:

  • The donor sperm is loaded into a flexible catheter. 
  • The cervix is located by the use of a speculum.
  • The catheter is inserted through the cervical opening.
  • The sperm is injected into the uterus.
  • The tube and speculum are removed.
  • The patient stays lying down for about 15 minutes.

Day 1-3 After IUI

It is possible that the procedure, though safe, can irritate the cervix or vaginal lining. Some spotting may occur for the first three days but isn't necessarily indicative of implantation. If there is a success, it usually takes a week to 10 days before any implantation bleeding happens. If any bleeding persists after the first three days, or if cramping or pain happens, then contact your doctor.

Day 6 After IUI

The sixth day is the soonest that implantation may occur. Now it is time to pay attention to the symptoms that indicate whether or not implantation happened successfully. These can vary but include:

  • cramping
  • fluctuations in basal body temperature
  • changes in mood
  • nausea
  • spotting
  • water retention
  • sore breasts

Day 11 After IUI

Every woman is different and implantation often happens at different rates. Some women experience implantation at 11 or more days after the insemination procedure. Therefore, it is possible that no pregnancy will be registered by symptoms or tests until two weeks after IUI.

Two Weeks After IUI

If you are pregnant, then your body needs enough time for your Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) to rise to detectable levels. This is why your doctor will schedule a follow-up pregnancy test at least 14 days after your initial visit. If it is going to occur, implantation will have typically happened after 12 days, and, even then, your natural HCG buildup takes some time for a pregnancy test to be effective. Testing too soon may otherwise mean false results.

What to Do After IUI to Increase Chances?

There are several things that can be done to improve your chances of getting pregnant with IUI.

Strong Sperm

Sperm washing means that the strongest, most viable sperm will be used for the sample. Studies have also shown that the sperm donor should avoid ejaculation for three or four days before giving a sample for IUI. This will result in a higher sperm count and improve your chances of pregnancy. Since sperm have a lifespan of about five days, it is advised to wait no longer than four before producing the sample.

Healthy Habits

The best approach is to behave as if you are already pregnant. Consider your daily habits. Practice healthy diet choices and maintain adequate exercise levels. Consider any medications you take that may affect your fertility. Don't drink any alcohol, take illegal drugs or smoke.

Hormone Stimulation

Fertility specialists may suggest special hormone injections that increase the likelihood of ovulation, fertilization, and implantation. These treatments, used with IUI, can dramatically increase the chances of conception.

Stress Management

Anxiety and mood have been shown to affect fertility and insemination results. Listen to the doctor to properly set your expectations on the outcome of the procedure. Maintain a routine free of anxiety. Keep maintaining a healthy focus on the other aspects of your life aside from the IUI.

When Does Period Start After Failed IUI?

If the insemination was not successful, you will know for certain once you have your next period. This usually happens between 9 and 14 days, depending.

Hormone Balance

Attempts at artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and intrauterine insemination all use hormones and medications to help improve the chances of pregnancy. These can also change your usual reproductive cycle. It may move when you ovulate. Be aware that the result of an IUI that did not succeed can still mean changing when you get your period.

Trying Again

Remember, if you do have your period after IUI, then you aren't pregnant. But the procedure can be attempted multiple times. Reproductive doctors typically wait a minimum of one month in between attempts at insemination. This will allow a return to regular, healthy hormone cycles as well as starting a new cycle of any treatments or medications before attempting IUI again.

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Discussion Comments

anon964171

I smoke. I tried to quit after having IUI but couldn't resist. I have cut down smoking a lot though, and am still trying to quit. Is it going to affect my chances of getting pregnant?

anon951096

I am spotting 12 days after IUI and I also took a home pregnancy test and it is negative. What should I do? After a few days is it possible the pregnancy test can be positive?

anon359424

Today is my 17th day after IUI, but the HPT result was negative. I had taken HCG injections before having IUI. I haven't got my periods, either. I am very confused. I don't know what should I do. Please suggest to me what I should do.

lluviaporos

I've heard that you need to wait up to four weeks after having sex to get a pregnancy test, depending on what types of pregnancy tests you're using. I guess the time difference is because IUI puts the sperm right into the uterus while free floating sperm can stay alive and ready to impregnate for up to a week after the deed.

indigomoth

@irontoenail - I think it can be difficult for people to stop thinking about it because fertility treatments of all kinds are expensive. It's easy to say, oh you can always adopt, or you can always do IUI or IVF treatments, but if you are an average family, you probably aren't going to be able to afford too many of those.

So, every one of them counts. Adoptions can be upwards of $40,000 depending on how you do it. And fertility treatments often have awful side effects, so on top of everything else you're going to be moody from those. It's not as simple as telling something they shouldn't be worrying about how soon can I take a pregnancy test. There are a lot of different factors.

irontoenail
I know it's easy to say it and less easy to do it, but you really should try to relax and not worry too much about the pregnancy test. Stress and worry really do stop you from getting pregnant. The number of people who stop trying and finally manage to get pregnant because they aren't putting pressure on themselves anymore is fairly high.

If you're stressing over when to take the pregnancy test, you're doing it wrong. Sit back, relax, continue to have fun and don't worry so much.

Again, I know it's easy to say, and less easy to do. But you'll have children for a long time once you have them. Waiting an extra week for the pregnancy test isn't going to kill you.

Kat919

I didn't have IUI with my first pregnancy--I'm looking into it now as pregnancy #2 doesn't seem to be happening--but I did use an ovulation predictor kit. The one I got came with a bunch of pregnancy test strips as well as the ovulation strips. It was a much cheaper alternative to buying so many of the sticks--although the disadvantage is you have to pee in a cup and dip in the strips. If I do go forward with the IUI, I think I'll try to get a bunch of those strips again so I can take as many as I want until I finally get that real positive pregnancy test.

ElizaBennett

If you're wondering when to take a pregnancy test, keep an eye out for implantation bleeding. Not everyone experiences it, but it's a nice clue if you do. It shows up about a week (maybe 6-12 days?) after conception. I had it for a couple of days myself, and started noticing minor pregnancy symptoms right after that. You won't get a a positive test until after implantation, but might get one pretty soon afterwards.

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    • Waiting at least 14 days after IUI to take a pregnancy test is recommended.
      By: auryndrikson
      Waiting at least 14 days after IUI to take a pregnancy test is recommended.
    • Home pregnancy test showing positive and negative results.
      By: Tein
      Home pregnancy test showing positive and negative results.
    • Taking a pregnancy test after IUI before the 14 day mark may result in a false negative.
      By: michaeljung
      Taking a pregnancy test after IUI before the 14 day mark may result in a false negative.
    • If you get a negative pregnancy test but no period after IUI, wait a few days and test again.
      By: amphotolt
      If you get a negative pregnancy test but no period after IUI, wait a few days and test again.
    • During IUI, washed sperm is inserted through the cervix into the uterus via a catheter.
      By: reineg
      During IUI, washed sperm is inserted through the cervix into the uterus via a catheter.