It isn’t always easy to get pregnant. Many couples experience difficulties when trying to conceive. Fortunately, innovative fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can help couples get pregnant. But what exactly is the difference between IUI and IVF? And which fertility procedure is right for you and your partner?
Our experienced fertility specialists are here to clarify the differences and help you identify which fertility treatment may be best for you.
What is IUI?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a simple fertility treatment that places sperm into the uterus via a catheter or syringe. The sperm is placed high in the uterine cavity to bypass the cervix, which makes it easier for the sperm to swim up the fallopian tubes toward the egg where fertilization occurs. Once fertilized, the embryo implants in the uterus.
What is IVF?
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a more complex fertility treatment than IUI. In this form of assisted reproductive technology (ART), eggs are removed from the woman’s ovaries and placed in a laboratory dish. Then, sperm is added to the dish to fertilize the eggs or sometimes with a procedure called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) in which the sperm is actually injected into the egg. Once fertilized, an embryo can be transferred back into the woman’s uterus.
Key Differences Between IUI vs IVF
The biggest difference between these two fertility treatments is where fertilization takes place. With IUI, fertilization takes place in the female reproductive tract. With IVF, fertilization takes place externally in the lab. That said, there are a few other important differences to note (SART):
- IUI tends to come at a significantly lower cost per cycle when compared to IVF. Depending on the fertility clinic, the medication, monitoring/bloodwork, and follow-up, an IUI cycle can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $4,000 (FertilityIQ). On the other hand, the cost of an IVF cycle ranges between $12,000-$25,000, as the average couple spends roughly $19,234 for an IVF cycle (Very Well Family).
- IUI has been shown to be less effective than IVF. Couples may require multiple IUI cycles before being able to conceive, which may raise their IUI costs significantly. Overall IVF has a higher success rate per cycle, and depending on male and female factors IVF may a better option.
It’s important to note that many smaller differences exist between the specific techniques used for each type of ART procedure.
IVF vs IUI: Which Option is Right for You?
The best way to determine the most appropriate fertility treatment for you and your partner is to speak with a male fertility specialist at Posterity Health. We can provide personalized advice for your situation and make recommendations on the appropriate procedure for you and your partner.
Both IVF and IUI are reliable options for couples struggling to get pregnant, however, one may suit your needs better.
IUI is often the first ART method that couples explore when they are struggling to get pregnant. It’s well-suited for couples when:
- The female has irregular cycles that can be overcome with fertility medication
- Fertility medication is required to induce ovulation
- The male partner has an abnormal semen analysis with moderate decreased sperm counts and/or movement
- The male partner has adequate frozen sperm or the couple will use donor sperm
Before trying IUI, there is an IUI Assessment available for males at Posterity Health that provides data about the overall quality of his sperm and its likelihood of success using this technique. Once the assessment is completed, the results predict pregnancy outcomes when comparing IUI vs IVF, which can help guide a couples procedure decisions. The assessment can also identify if a Male Fertility Workup could improve sperm parameters and increase IUI success.
You and your partner may be better candidates for IVF if you have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for over a year and display at least one of the following fertility problems:
- Blocked fallopian tubes (due to scarring or tubal ligation)
- Lack of ovulation
- Male partner with significantly low sperm counts or low motility
- The male partner has had a vasectomy before
- The female partner has a diminished egg supply and/or poor egg vitality
When couples have failed to conceive after multiple unsuccessful IUI cycles, many physicians will recommend IVF as their recommended next step.
The Sperm’s Role in Failed Pregnancies
It takes two to get pregnant! One of the reasons why IVF or IUI cycles can fail is poor sperm quality. In over 50% of couples experiencing infertility, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing factor. Poor sperm quality can contribute to recurring miscarriages or failed pregnancies, so the male partner should take steps to get their fertility assessed.
No matter where you are on your path to parenthood, it’s important for both parties to get their fertility status evaluated sooner rather than later. This will help identify fertility issues, check for signs of underlying health problems related to infertility, and help you get pregnant.
If you’re a male and you’re trying to get pregnant with your partner, order a semen analysis today to get a baseline on your fertility status.
Get The Facts on IVF vs IUI with Posterity Health
Our team of experienced reproductive urologists can help chart your path to a successful pregnancy. We specialize in male fertility and offer an array of fertility services to assess the quality of your sperm and improve your fertility status. With our team at your back, you’ll have dedicated support to improve your chance of pregnancy.
Contact Posterity Health today to schedule a consultation with our male fertility specialists.