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IUI vs. IVF: What’s the Difference?

By Vicken Sahakian, M.D. on March 02, 2017

IUI vs. IVFTwo of the most common fertility treatments are intrauterine insemination, or IUI, and in vitro fertilization, or IVF. If you are struggling to have a baby naturally, you may be considering your fertility treatment options. Naturally, you probably have some questions about what each of these treatments can do. At Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles, CA, our doctors can explain the differences between IUI vs. IVF and help you decide which option is right for you.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Many women opt for two to three rounds of IUI before moving on to IVF. This is because the process is less time consuming and it is generally less expensive than IVF. With IUI, the male partner’s (or a donor’s) sperm is inserted directly into the uterus. The process coincides with the female partner’s ovulation.

The sperm is inserted one or two times in the days following ovulation. This increases the chances of the sperm and egg meeting. The use of higher concentrations of quality sperm also increase the possibility or successful pregnancy.

Intrauterine insemination is usually recommended for women under age 35. Women in this range have a higher success rate than women over the age of 35. Women at age 40 or over have the lowest success rate with IUI, at just 5 percent.

Because IUI may be combined with the use of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries, the risk of multiple births (twins or more) is greater.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization is one of the most successful fertility treatment methods. Usually, if three or more rounds of IUI fail, our doctors at Pacific Fertility Center recommend moving on to IVF. With this method, fertility drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries, which allows the production of more than one egg at a time.

The eggs are retrieved and fertilized with sperm in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the uterus. Once there, the embryos may attach to the uterine wall, resulting in a pregnancy.

In general, IVF has higher success rates than IUI. It is the most highly recommended method for women over the age of 40. Another benefit of IVF is the control the doctors and patients have over the number of embryos, thus lowering the risk of multiple births.

How Do I Decide?

The best way to determine whether IUI or IVF is right for you is to talk with one of the doctors at Pacific Fertility Center. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but the doctors can make recommendations based on your age, health, and the cause of your infertility. Younger couples usually see more success with IUI, but if multiple rounds are needed, this option can get expensive. You will need to weigh the costs, benefits, and risks before making your decision.

Find Out Which Fertility Treatment Is Right for You

If you have tried to have a baby for more than a year without success, it may be time to talk with a fertility expert. Contact our fertility center today to schedule a consultation.

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