Insemination Methods & Outcomes

As a service to our recipients, we make our conception rates available.  We track overall success rates and success rates associated with insemination method and recipient age.  The latter information may be especially relevant to TSBC recipients as 2/3 of the women we serve are 35 years or older.  We encourage anyone interested in learning more about age and fertility to read our Conception Strategies for Women.

TSBC Overall Success Rates

We calculate the overall conception rate for our recipients and the rates associated with method of insemination and recipient age. We use four years' worth of data to provide better estimates of the likelihood of conceiving. The most recent analysis is for conception attempts and outcomes from 2004 through the end of 2007.

Vaginal Insemination & IUI Combined Success Rate: 14.6% per cycle

This rate of 14.6% or a 1 in 7 chance of conceiving each cycle attempt matches industry standards for conception through donor insemination. The rate is based on 4589 cycle attempts. It includes (i) all recipients regardless of their age and (ii) all insemination attempts done vaginally, intrauterine, and combined vaginal and intrauterine. Based on an older life table analysis across consecutive cycles, 80% of TSBC recipients conceive within 7 cycle attempts.

We have a small group of recipients who use IVF to conceive rather than IUI or vaginal insemination. They are working with a fertility clinic as well as TSBC. This group includes women of all ages who use egg donation or their own eggs. Keeping in mind the small number of cycle attempts (n = 160) and that some women are using donor eggs, the success rate for this group matches or exceeds rates typically reported by clinics:

IVF Success Rate: 53.8% per cycle
We include this success rate to provide a comparison basis for IVF success rates which are typically published by fertility clinics. In contrast, it is less common for donor insemination programs to publish their success rates (for an exception beyond us, see Rainbow Flag Health Services).

Success Rate: Insemination Method & Age

Using information from all reported conceptions from 2004 through the end of 2007, we calculated the success rate per cycle attempt according to the recipient's age and method of insemination. In other words, we compared the total number of conceptions resulting for each recipient age group according to insemination method to the total number of conception attempts by each age group according to insemination method. From this, we then calculated a percent success rate per cycle attempt for each method of insemination dependent on the age of the recipient (see Figure 1).

Figure 1:  Success rate by age group and method of insemination (vaginal (pool) insemination - VP; intrauterine insemination - IUI)

Based on these data

  • Vaginal inseminations work better among younger recipients.
  • IUI tends to be twice as successful as vaginal insemination.
  • Success rate is related to a woman's age: As you get older, the probability of conceiving decreases. Nevertheless, IUI still results in reasonable success rates, with women ages 40 - 44 on average experiencing a 1 in 10 probability of conceiving in a given cycle attempt.

Notes on the Analysis

  • Vaginal inseminations: The sample of recipients who did vaginal inseminations varied in whether they did one or two inseminations per cycle. Two inseminations were weakly associated with a better success rate.
  • IUIs:  Our IUI sample included recipients who did one IUI in a cycle attempt and those who did more than one IUI. We were unable to make direct comparisons, however, of success rates from one versus more than one IUI, due to an unequal distribution of recipients using fertility drugs across the two groups.
  • Recipients under age 30:  Our sample included too few recipents to calculate a success rate. Fertility studies indicate, however, that this age group has the highest chance of conceiving in a cycle attempt.
  • Recipients over age 44: In our sample, no live births were reported for this age group when they used vaginal inseminations alone.
  • Given that fertility is so closely tied to maternal age, any recipient over the age of 35 should read our Conception Strategies for Women 35 and Older.


Our results match findings from the fertility industry and are consistent with clinical research indicating that IUI tends to be twice as successful as vaginal insemination.  Based on these and early analyses, recipients can expect to inseminate for four to eight cycles before conceiving.