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From cutting-edge procedures like IVF to more traditional methods like intrauterine insemination (IUI), many different fertility treatments are available today. While both IUI and IVF have their advantages and disadvantages, there are circumstances where IUI is better than IVF, and vice versa.  

When comparing IUI vs IVF, IUI offers several key benefits. It typically has a lower cost and shorter recovery time than IVF. In fact, studies have shown that IUI can be nearly as effective as more invasive procedures like IVF when it comes to helping couples achieve a healthy pregnancy for younger couples or those with mild infertility diagnoses. 

At the end of the day, IUI and IVF are both excellent options for those seeking fertility treatment. If you’re not entirely sure of the difference between these two, keep reading! Below, we break down exactly what each fertility treatment involves, helping you make an informed decision. So, what is the difference between IUI and IVF?

What is an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) Procedure?

An IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a procedure that can be used to help couples conceive. During an IUI, a sperm sample is provided by the male partner and introduced directly into the upper part of the uterus using a thin catheter. This procedure bypasses the cervix, helping to ensure that the sperm is delivered to the optimal location. 

IUI reduces any risk of female reproductive tract infections that may occur due to more traditional methods of conception. An IUI can also be a safe and effective way to increase one’s odds of becoming pregnant, making it an increasingly popular choice for many couples struggling with infertility issues.

Medicated IUI

When unexplained infertility is at play, doctors may recommend a medicated IUI cycle as an effective treatment option. During an IUI cycle, specialized fertility drugs are administered to boost the woman’s reproductive hormone levels and increase the number of eggs she produces. 

The medicated IUI cycle may also be called superovulation, controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, and ovulation induction by hormone therapy which can result in the body maturing more than one egg. 

What is an IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) Procedure?

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a procedure that uses fertility drugs to stimulate the development of healthy eggs in hopes of creating viable embryos. To begin an IVF cycle, doctors typically prescribe fertility medications, which are taken for several days to increase the number and quality of the eggs produced. 

Once this stage is complete, the eggs are retrieved through a quick and painless process known as egg retrieval. The retrieved eggs are then fertilized with sperm in a laboratory setting and allowed to develop into embryos. The healthiest embryo or embryos can then be transferred to the uterus through a minor invasive procedure called embryo transfer. 

What are the Biggest Differences Between IUI and IVF?

While there are many differences between the two fertility treatments, both can be successful and result in healthy babies. Below, we take a closer look at the differences between IUI and IVF.

IUI Vs. IVF: Invasiveness of Procedure 

Perhaps the biggest difference is the physical process itself, with IVF involving much more intensive steps and medical interventions than IUI. Procedurally, IVF involves the extraction of mature eggs from a woman’s ovaries, combined in a laboratory environment with sperm, to create an embryo. The sperm is directly injected into the uterus during ovulation. This means that IVF is much more invasive compared to IUI. 

IUI Vs. IVF: Cost

Since IUI is a much less invasive process that involves less medical intervention, it comes with a lower price tag. Many hopeful parents may opt for IUI before IVF due to this cost variation, depending on their individual situation.

IUI Cost

The cost of IUI can vary widely depending on many different factors. The treatment location can impact the overall cost, with outpatient facilities tending to be less expensive than inpatient facilities. The cost may also depend on your circumstances and the type of insurance coverage that you have. Most IUI treatments will cost under $2,000.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Cost

The cost of IVF can be a significant barrier for couples struggling with infertility. IVF treatments typically involve various medications, fertility tests, procedures, and consultations that add up to a significant expense. Many couples may require multiple rounds of treatment to achieve a successful pregnancy.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) cost can range from several thousand dollars up to $20,000 or more, depending on the clinic and the specific treatment plan. Luckily, ELITE IVF offers plenty of financial options for hopeful parents, including a hybrid program and financing options.

IUI vs. IVF: Success Rates 

IVF technically has a higher success rate compared to IUI, but it’s important to remember that individual results will vary. 

IUI Success Rates

Typically, IUI is repeated monthly, and the success rate is 15% to 20%. Many patients will have three to four rounds of IUI, which can have a cumulative success rate of up to 50%. Some couples may further need to proceed with IVF if IUI is unsuccessful. 

IVF Success Rates

Many factors can impact the success rate of IVF, including the ovarian reserve, age, prior pregnancies, and the reason for infertility. The success rate for IVF is around 50% to 75% and may require more than one round of IVF treatments. 

IUI Vs. IVF: Chance of Multiples

It’s very common to wonder if these fertility treatments will increase the chances of twins. The chances of multiples with IUI and the chances of multiples with IVF are very low. In fact, IUI on its own will not increase the chance of multiple births. If a medicated IUI is being performed, the use of fertility drugs will increase the chance of multiple births. In the case of IVF, since fertility drugs are being used, there is an increased chance of multiple births. However, this is quite rare.

Embryo Genetic Testing with IVF

Preimplantation genetic testing is a screening test that can be done with IVF patients. This type of screening enables doctors and patients to analyze the genetic makeup of a fertilized egg, helping them to determine if there are any genetic abnormalities before it is implanted into the mother’s uterus. 

In addition to allowing parents to make more informed decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy, embryo genetic testing enables doctors to provide tailored care. This ensures that they can take steps to minimize risks and provide effective treatment based on each patient’s unique needs. 

IUI or IVF? Which One is Right for You?

When dealing with fertility issues, couples may consider several different options. Perhaps the most common is either IUI or IVF. While both techniques have proven effective for many couples, some key differences can help you choose which is right for your situation.

Consulting with your doctor will be the best way to determine which procedure is best for you. Typically, younger couples with unknown fertility issues may choose to start with IUI based on cost and success rate. If IUI is unsuccessful, they can move on to IVF treatment. 

If you’re searching for a compassionate and caring fertility team that is committed to making your baby dreams come true, look no further than our expert team at ELITE IVF. Contact us today for more information. 


Speak with a fertility specialist at ELITE IVF today!