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Rescue intrauterine insemination in women failing to retrieve oocytes at ovum pick-up: report of a case series.

PURPOSE: Failure to collect oocytes at the time of oocyte pick-up is an unfavorable outcome of in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. In these cases, prompt intrauterine insemination (IUI) could be an option (rescue IUI), but this possibility has been poorly studied.

METHODS: Rescue IUI is routinely offered in our unit in women failing to retrieve oocytes, provided that they have at least one patent tube, normal male semen analysis, and the total number of developed follicles is ≤ 3. We therefore reviewed all oocyte retrievals performed from 2006 to 2022 in our unit to identify these cases. As a comparator, we referred to preplanned IUI performed during the same study period. The 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of proportions was calculated using a binomial distribution model.

RESULTS: Rescue IUI was performed in 96 out of 3531 oocyte retrievals (2.7%; 95% CI 2.2-3.3%). Six live births were obtained, corresponding to 6.2% (95% CI 2.3-13.1). All pregnancies were singletons.

CONCLUSIONS: Rescue IUI in women failing to retrieve oocytes is a possible option that may be considered in selected cases. The efficacy is low, but the procedure is simple, and without significant risks. Generalizability to a conventional IVF protocol setting is however limited.

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