Exploring IUI vs IVF: Which Fertility Procedure is Right for You?

November 14, 2023

IUI vs IVF: Engaging in infertility treatment may leave a couple wondering what kind of treatment they qualify for and whether or not they should pursue fertility treatments. Couples who struggle with conception can opt for two options to treat infertility: IUI and IVF. In IUI, fertilisation occurs inside the female’s body, whereas in IVF, fertilisation occurs outside the body. It is the primary distinction between IUI vs IVF.

Some people know one term better than the other, frequently without understanding the distinction or nature of either treatment. Discussing the unique situation with reproductive specialists is important, but one should also understand the comparison of IUI vs IVF.

Understanding IVF And IUI

A series of procedures known as IVF and IUI have the potential to result in pregnancy. 

In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

It is an infertility treatment; most couples can conceive after at least a year of trying an IVF. The mechanism of IVF involves the following steps:

  • Naturally Suppressing the Monthly Cycle: During this step, an intended mother who wants to conceive is given medication that interferes with the regular menstrual cycle. In this step, an increasing number of eggs that produce follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a fertility hormone, is taken after the natural cycle suppression.
  • Reviewing the Results: Throughout the treatment, there will be continuous monitoring in the clinic. An intended mother will undergo vaginal ultrasound scans and, occasionally, blood tests.
  • Collecting Eggs: When the eggs are deemed ready for collection, a medical procedure is performed under sedation. A fine needle is guided by ultrasound into each ovary to extract the mature eggs.
  • Fertilisation of Eggs: The harvested eggs are then taken to a specialised laboratory and fused with sperm. This can be the partner’s sperm or, in some cases, donor sperm. The aim is to achieve fertilization and the formation of embryos.
  • Implanting an Embryo: A few days after the egg retrieval, the resulting embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus. This delicate procedure is carried out with the hope that the embryo implants in the uterine lining and develops into a successful pregnancy.

Read Also: The Importance of Sleeping Position After IVF: A Guide for Patients

Intrauterine Insemination

Another procedure used to treat infertility is intrauterine insemination or IUI. It involves the introduction of prepared sperm directly into the uterus, the organ in which a baby develops, increasing the likelihood of conception. Artificial insemination is another term for this process. The mechanism of IUI involves the following steps:

  • A long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter attaches a vial containing a sample of healthy sperm to the end.  
  • The next step is to insert the catheter into the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus.  
  • The sperm sample is then allowed to push into the uterus through the tube.  
  • The speculum is taken out finally after the removal of the catheter.
  • The sperms are then left to fuse with eggs. 

Which Is More Successful? IUI vs IVF

IUI vs IVF: The likelihood of success rates for every patient depends on their specific diagnosis, medical history (and partner’s), age, and gender. However, one can compare by taking a look at general statistics. Let us know the success rate of both procedures:

IVF Success Rates

Certain factors influence IVF success rates. They include age, ovarian reserve, infertility diagnosis, previous successful pregnancies, etc. Most patients can anticipate a success rate between 50% and 75% after just one IVF cycle. Patients may need two or three rounds of IVF when individual success rates are lower before conceiving successfully.

Age Under 35 years:

According to the Society for Reproductive Technology (SART), 55.6% of IVF-assisted live births occur in women under 35. There are 41.4% live births for every initial embryo transfer.

Ages between 35 and 37 years:

When using their eggs, IVF success rates for women between the ages of 35 and 37 are 40.8%.

Ages between 38 and 40 years:

The success rate for women in their 38th and 40th year is 26.8%, a significant decrease from the 35th and 37th years.

IVF Success Rates

IUI Success Rates

The individual success rate for IUI is 15-20% for each monthly attempt. With a cumulative success rate of 40 to 50%, doctors advise trying three to four rounds of IUI. The average monthly pregnancy rate in the general population is only one in five couples, or twenty percent per month. While they strive for the same success rates with IUI, many patients still require IVF treatment.

Age Under 35 years:

The success rate is between 13% for women in their early 35s or younger.  

Age between 35 and 37 years:

The success rate of intrauterine insemination is typically 10% for women between 35 and 37 years.  

Age between 38 years and beyond:

The success rate for IUI in women between the ages of 38 and 40 is 9%. In their early 40s, the success rates were only about 3-9%.

IUI Success Rates

Read Also: Is IUI Procedure Painful? : Dispelling Myths And Exposing The Truth

IUI Vs IVF: Comparison

The location of fertilisation and the number of eggs the female produced are the common differences between IUI vs IVF. Let us understand each factor and learn the distinctions:

Factor  IUI  IVF 
Ovulation  Treatments are administered to stimulate the growth and ovulation of one or two mature eggs (some women may not ovulate otherwise).  Before the ovulation stage, eggs are extracted. The procedure is carried out 34 to 36 hours before ovulation and after the last dose of fertility medication. 

A patient will be given medication before egg retrieval to help relax and block pain.

Sperm Quality  IUI can help if the patient suffers from male factor infertility, which includes abnormal sperm count, motility, or morphology, as well as blocked vas deferens. 

Through this procedure, the sperm and egg are brought closer together, improving the natural conception process. The sperm is placed much closer to its target (the egg) during an IUI.

ICSI involves choosing the strongest, single sperm with the best motility and injecting them directly into a fertile ovum with a microneedle for assisted fertilisation. 

A patient only requires one healthy sperm to use ICSI. For individuals with severe male factor infertility, IVF is more successful than IUI because of ICSI, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Time To Pregnancy  Success with an IUI typically occurs during the first three or four treatment cycles. Due to its higher success rate per cycle, IVF has a significantly shorter time to pregnancy.
Cost IUI is significantly more cost-effective per cycle.  For some people (like those with blocked tubes), IUIs may not be a good option, with almost no chance of success. 

Additionally, after three IUI cycles, there is a low likelihood that any additional cycle will succeed.

As compared to IUI, IVF is more expensive. Insurance coverage for IVF varies by state. 

It is recommended to contact a health insurance company beforehand.

Some other Benefits of IVF

  • Problems With The Tubes: If the patient has a tubal obstruction, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) enables the fertility specialist to bypass the fallopian tubes completely and place the embryo(s) inside the uterus of the intended mother after fertilising with the sperm of the intended father (or donor).
  • Endometrial Receptivity: The endometrium is important for women who receive In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The ideal endometrium should have a layered appearance and be relatively thick for pregnancy. Various drugs can be administered to maximise uterine receptivity and the time of embryo transfer.

When to Perform IUI First

If you or your partner has mild male-factor or unexplained infertility for no known cause, your doctor will likely recommend IUI. It is frequently suggested as the first step because it is more affordable and less invasive than IVF.

When To Begin IVF

Doctors probably advise switching to IVF if you undergo three or four unsuccessful rounds of IUI. In some situations,  they may also suggest skipping IUI and going straight to IVF if you (or your partner) have a condition like:

  • Severe Infertility (specifically in males).
  • Obstructed fallopian tubes that cannot be treated surgically.  
  • Several miscarriages.  
  • Endometriosis.  
  • Age and the desire to have a large family.

Read Also: Test Tube Baby Process, Treatment, and Cost

IVF And IUI Treatment At Nandi IVF

Every experience is different, and every story in the field of fertility treatments is personal. Depending on the specifics of each case, IUI vs IVF outcomes can vary. IVF has a more successful rate when compared to IUI vs IVF. These methods serve as a reminder that the desire to become a parent can forge paths. With Nandi IVF, bring this greatest happiness and hope to flourish in the face of uncertainty.

Contact us for a cutting-edge, modular IVF lab and outpatient treatment complex with the newest technology. With decades of experience treating infertility, our internationally trained fertility specialists can help you make this process incredibly rewarding.

Related Video:

Read Also: Understanding the Signs of Bad Egg Quality – Taking the Right Steps

Sr. IVF Specialist & Medical Director at NANDI IVF
Dr. Payal Bajaj is an experienced Obstetrician & Gynecologist with over 20 years of experience in the discipline. She is a Reproductive Endocrinologist & Infertility Specialist. She has Done MBBS From the Renowned Lady Hardinge Medical College. DGO from the prestigious VMMC & Safdarjang Hospital, DMAS From World Laparoscopy Hospital.

She has Completed Her esteemed ASPIRE -ISAR Fellowship in the field of Reproductive Medicine from AFGC, Delhi And St' Mother's Hospital Japan.She has also been trained from the University of KEIL Germany. She has won various academic awards all through her academic career.
Dr. Payal Bajaj

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