Deciding Between IUI vs IVF

Comparing IUI And IVF

Deciding when it’s more appropriate to undergo IUI or IVF is a personal choice and, as we’ve covered in the previous six lessons, there are multiple factors to consider. In this lesson our goal is to describe which approach is more favorable, depending upon each priority.

As you’ll recall, many women should not consider IUI at all because the nature of their fertility issues won’t allow IUI to be of help. These include women with severely diminished ovarian reserve, both fallopian tubes blocked, or a partner who has an extreme case of male factor infertility.

To help you weigh whether to do IUI or IVF, we've developed 6 key criteria (and which treatment wins out in each) that you may want to consult in making your decision. Which criteria are most important is a personal decision.

How To Decide Between IUI and IVF

Time To Pregnancy

Women who start with IVF as opposed to IUI, or switch earlier from IUI to IVF, record faster “time to pregnancy.” In one well-regarded study, women who started IVF immediately conceived faster than women who initially tried two IUI cycles before converting to IVF.

Provided women who fail with IUI discontinue treatment after a few cycles and have the ability to do multiple IVF cycles, their odds of ultimately taking home a baby should be similar to women who started with IVF or embarked upon it earlier.

Cost

Each IUI cycle costs roughly $500 - $4,000 while IVF typically costs $20,000. On a “cost-per-live-birth” basis, IUI looks favorable.

Costs of IUI and IVF

However, after roughly 3 IUI cycles most IUIs will not work and and at this point the “cost-per-live-birth” for each additional IUI becomes unacceptably high.

Value Per IUI

Multiples Risk

Those fearful of conceiving with multiples should strongly consider IVF and only transferring one embryo at a time. In these circumstances, just 1% of pregnancies lead to twins, and triplets are even more rare. Alternatively, 8 - 30% of medicated IUI pregnancies lead to twins. Finally, the least preferable circumstance is do to IVF with multiple embryo transfer, where in women under 38 years of age, 30% of pregnancies culminate in a multiple birth.

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