IVF versus IUI: Which is right for me?

Many women who are struggling with infertility are curious about their treatment options, specifically the difference between IVF and IUI and which is right for them.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are the two most commonly used fertility treatment methods. Many patients come to IVF Michigan Fertility Clinic wondering what the pros and cons are for each method and which fertility treatment is best for them. 

The experienced fertility doctors at IVF Michigan have found that while IUI has some financial and medical benefits, without question IVF is the more successful treatment out of the two.

During IVF a woman has her ovaries stimulated with hormones (follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone) to produce multiple eggs during a single cycle (women normally produce a single egg per cycle); then, the eggs are removed from the ovary (in a procedure called a transvaginal oocyte retrieval) so that they may be fertilized with sperm in a laboratory (during a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection) in order to create embryos.  Finally (approximately five days later) the embryo(s) are transferred into the mother’s uterus. 

So how does that differ from IUI? IUI is a type of artificial insemination where sperm is inserted directly into a woman’s uterus for the purpose of fertilizing the egg.  This procedure is done one to two times following a woman’s ovulation cycle. IUI leaves higher concentrations of good sperm close to where the egg is waiting, so the odds are increased that the egg and sperm will find one another.

While many couples are intrigued by IUI because it is less expensive and less invasive, it also has a remarkably decreased rate of success compared to IVF, especially in women with advanced age. Therefore, it’s important to know the type of procedure that works best for each cause of infertility.  

IUI is commonly used when the fertility issues are related to unexplained infertility, mild endometriosis, low sperm count, ejaculation issues or decreased sperm mobility. IVF is recommended for women with most causes of infertility such as women over 35 years old, women with low egg supply, very low sperm count, very low sperm motility,  women with tubal issues, and women with fertility disorders like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

For patients less than 38 years old with no previous fertility treatment, the suggested route is to proceed with two to three cycles of artificial insemination, followed by IVF. For some patients starting with IVF would be a better option.

Patients 38 or older may benefit from proceeding with IVF sooner because of the very low success rate of IUI and reduced supply of eggs.  In some cases, delaying IVF would result in a higher total cost because of the need to repeat the procedure multiple times to get the expected results.

If you still aren’t sure which procedure is right for you, please call one of IVF Michigan’s fertility specialists at 855-952-9600, and we would be happy to discuss your fertility treatment options.