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Hum Reprod. 2005 Nov;20(11):3225-30. Epub 2005 Jul 8.

The role of laparoscopy in intrauterine insemination: a prospective randomized reallocation study.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine, VU Medical Centre, PO Box 7057, 1007 Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



We questioned whether a laparoscopy should be performed after a normal hysterosalpingography before starting intrauterine inseminations (IUI) in order to detect further pelvic pathology and whether a postponed procedure after six unsuccessful cycles of IUI yields a higher number of abnormal findings.


In a randomized controlled trial, the accuracy of a standard laparoscopy prior to IUI was compared with a laparoscopy performed after six unsuccessful cycles of IUI. The major end-point was the number of diagnostic laparoscopies revealing pelvic pathology with consequence for further treatment such as laparoscopic surgical intervention, IVF or secondary surgery. Patients were couples with medical grounds for IUI such as idiopathic subfertility, mild male infertility and cervical hostility.


Seventy-seven patients were randomized into the diagnostic laparoscopy first (DLSF) group and the same number was randomized into the IUI first (IUIF) group. The laparoscopy was performed on 64 patients in the DLSF group, 10 patients withdrew their consent from participation and three patients (3%) became pregnant prior to laparoscopy. In the IUIF group, 23 patients remained for laparoscopy because pregnancy did not occur after six cycles of IUI. From the original 77 randomized patients, 38 patients became pregnant and 16 patients dropped out. Abnormal findings during laparoscopy with therapeutic consequences were the same in both groups: in the DLSF group, 31 cases (48%) versus 13 cases (56%) in the IUIF group, P = 0.63; odds ratio (OR) = 1.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.5-3.6. The ongoing pregnancy rate in the DLSF group was 34 out of 77 patients (44%) versus 38 out of 77 patients (49%) in the IUIF group (P = 0.63; OR = 1.2; 95% CI: 0.7-2.3).


Laparoscopy performed after six cycles of unsuccessful IUI did not detect more abnormalities with clinical consequences compared with those performed prior to IUI treatment. Our data suggest that the impact of the detection and the laparoscopic treatment of observed pelvic pathology prior to IUI seems negligible in terms of IUI outcome. Therefore, we seriously question the value of routinely performing a diagnostic and/or therapeutic laparoscopy prior to IUI treatment. Further prospective studies could be performed to determine the effect of laparoscopic interventions on the success rate of IUI treatment in order to rule out completely the laparoscopy from the diagnostic route prior to IUI.

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