IVF or IUI: Which Treatment is Better for You?

ivf vs iui treatment

Common Infertility Problems: IVF and IUI

Infertility arises when you cannot conceive after trying to get pregnant for over a year. There are several causes for infertility problems, and they can affect anyone. Some of these causes include endometriosis, low sperm count, ovulation disorder, and low testosterone.  The chances of infertility increase with age. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is one of the most popular and common methods of dealing with infertility problems.

Two well-known and common ART fertility treatments are in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). The choice between IVF or IUI is difficult to make.  Neither of these guarantees fertilization or conception, but it is the choice of many.


In this procedure, eggs from the ovaries are retrieved and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. When the embryos are formed, a doctor will implant them into the woman’s uterus, where they can grow and develop.


This was known as artificial insemination. Healthy sperm is collected and is introduced directly into the uterus when the woman is ovulating.

The IVF or IUI debate is defined by the couples’ health and their preferences.

Process of IVF Treatment

Under the IVF treatment process, mature eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. These fertilized eggs, called embryos, are then placed in the woman’s uterus and wait for implantation.  It takes about two to three weeks or even longer for one full cycle of an IVF treatment.

For the IVF procedure, couples can use their own eggs and sperms, or eggs, sperms, or even embryos can used from a known or unknown donor.

The common steps in the IVF treatment process are:

  • Stimulation of ovulation: The natural menstrual cycle is suppressed, and fertility hormones like Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) are given to increase the number of eggs produced.
  • Retrieval of eggs: This is a minor procedure and is done under sedation using ultrasound.
  • Retrieval of sperm: From a fresh sperm sample, the healthiest and most active sperm are selected after washing and a spinning procedure. Sperms can also be from a donor.
  • Fertilization of egg with sperm under lab conditions.
  • Transfer of embryo to the uterus: Usually, the embryos grow in the lab for up to a week before being transferred to the uterus. The best embryos will be selected, and this number is usually discussed with the couple beforehand.
  • Pregnancy test: This is usually done two weeks after the embryos are transferred.

If the pregnancy test is positive, ultrasound scans will be carried out regularly over the following weeks to check progress. Then, antenatal care will be offered.

Who Can Take IVF Treatment?

IVF has a success rate of around 50%, so it is considered a good option by couples to overcome infertility problems. However, IVF may not be a good option for everyone. You may consider IVF treatment process if:

  • You suffer from endometriosis
  • Your fallopian tubes are blocked
  • Male infertility issues: If the man has a low sperm count, IVF is a good choice.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOD)
  • Reduction in number of eggs: With age, the quality of eggs decreases. You might have to use donor eggs.
  • Unexplained infertility: When the reasons for a person’s infertility cannot be ascertained.

Process of IUI Treatment

The steps involved in the IUI treatment process are:

  • Stimulation of ovulation: Fertility drugs are given to the woman to stimulate ovulation and make the eggs mature and ready to be fertilized.
  • Semen collection: This can be from the woman’s partner or a sperm donor.
  • Sperm washing: This process collects a good number of healthy sperm from the semen.
  • Insemination:  Your doctor will introduce the sperm right into your uterus during ovulation (when an egg is released). Pregnancy will result in the fertilization of the egg by sperm fertilizing the egg, and if this fertilized egg implants in the lining of your uterus,

The IUI treatment process is simple and does not require much technology. It is usually cheaper than other fertility treatments. It does increase your chances of pregnancy, but there is no guarantee that IUI will succeed.

Who Can Take IUI Treatment?

The IUI process may be considered if there is:

  • Male infertility: This may include low sperm count or low mobility of sperm.
  • Unexplained infertility: If no cause for infertility is found, IUI can increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
  • Mild endometriosis
  • A chance of passing a genetic condition to the child if the male partner has a known genetic disorder. A sperm donor can be used in such a case.
  • A single woman who wants to conceive
  • Problems with erection or ejaculation

What Is The Success Of IVF and IUI Treatment In India?

Under the IVF vs IUI discussion, the success rate is an important factor.

IVF Success Rates

India has seen a considerable surge in IVF services, which could be a result of late marriage, late pregnancy, growing rates of infertility, and the awareness of infertility treatments. India’s success rate in IVF is 60 % to 70%. This has led to a demand for procedures that have contributed to a 20% growth over the last five years in the Indian fertility market.

Reportedly, the success rate of IVF in India lies in the range of 30% and 35% with every embryo transfer. In India, about 2 to 2.5 lakh IVF cycles are performed every year, and the success rates have increased to 60% YTD each year.

IUI Success Rates

The success rates of IUI treatment are dependent on several factors, such as:

  • Age of the partners
  • The cause of infertility
  • Quality of sperm used.

According to the Indian Medical Association, it is estimated that, on average, the success rate of IUI is 10-20% per cycle. This can, however, be higher or lower based on individual circumstances.

Data has also revealed that IUI has a 10% success rate in the first cycle for couples under the age of 35. This proportion can rise to 20% depending on circumstances, such as whether or not the mother has taken hormone therapy.

Which Doctor to Consult for Infertility Problems?

  • Usually, a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) is a fertility specialist consulted for infertility problems. REs are specially trained gynecologists who specialize in infertility-related problems in both men and women. They have done additional training in infertility treatment and fertility procedures. Generally, REs treat both men and women. However, they tend to lean towards female fertility problems.
  • Andrologist: For a male fertility specialist, patients may be referred to a specialized type of urologist called an andrologist. They usually have completed additional training in male fertility.
  • Reproductive Surgeons: These are another type of fertility expert. REs can also perform surgery, but reproductive surgeons have more training in surgical procedures and may treat patients for other issues beyond pregnancy.  They may have primary training in gynecology or urology.


Infertility is common, and couples are encouraged to seek professional advice before deciding on fertility treatments. IUI and IVF are very different procedures, and each has its pros and cons.

There are several key differences between IVF and IUI treatments.


  • IUI is less invasive and less expensive. If time is available, IUI could be your first option.
  • IUI requires less medication or maybe even none.


  • IVF has a higher success rate
  • It is more risky
  • IVF requires treatment with fertility drugs, including two to three injections per day
  • The process is surgically invasive.
  • IVF is more expensive.You must compare both options to decide which treatment might be best for you and your partner. The success of IVF or IUI will depend on many factors. Each patient and situation is different. Meet with a fertility specialist to review your case and to decide on a future course of action.