Comparing IVF With IUI: Which Fertility Treatment Is Right For You?

Posted on: 23 November 2020

If you are looking at different fertility treatments, you and your partner may be overwhelmed with your options. You may be wondering whether you should start with in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). Read on to get an overview of both and to see which treatment may better fit your needs.

What's the Difference Between IVF and IUI?

In basic terms, IVF is a treatment where eggs and sperm are combined outside of the patient's body in a lab. The patient will take fertility medication before the procedure to stimulate the ovaries for a better chance of successful egg retrieval. Once the eggs are fertilized, the lab will monitor the embryos to decide when it should be transferred to the uterus.

During IUI, a doctor will collect a sperm sample, and a lab will process that sample and remove seminal fluid and chemicals that could be making it harder for people to get pregnant. The sperm is then placed higher up in the uterine cavity so that there's a better chance of one meeting an egg.

The main difference between the two procedures is that fertilization takes place externally in IVF and it takes place internally with IUI.

Which Treatment is Right for You?

Because IUI, or artificial insemination, is a less invasive procedure, your doctor may recommend that you try this route first before moving on to IVF. While every place is different, IUI may be less expensive than IVF, so if you are on a tighter budget, then you may want to start with that treatment. Costhelper says that IUI can cost a few hundred dollars for each attempt, but IVF can cost thousands of dollars—and even more if you opt for frozen embryo transfers (FET) which are embryos that can be saved for a future IVF procedure.

However, the main downside of IUI is that it may not have the success rates of IVF. IVF continues to improve; one study found that live birth outcomes from IVF had improved from about 75% to 80% within a decade. If you already have health issues with fallopian tubes, sperm motility, and eggs, then your doctor may recommend that you skip over IUI and proceed to IVF. If you and your partner are also considering a surrogate or donor eggs, then IVF can be a good option.

Reach out to a fertility specialist to learn more about IUI and IVF and what's best for you and your partner.