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IVF or IUI which is better for PCOS

For many women that are suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – PCOS, attempting to conceive could be a grievous experience. PCOS is a condition where a woman has too many male hormones and doesn’t have adequate female hormones. This intervenes with ovulation because the ovaries enlarge and might also have several little cyst-like structures (ovary follicles that are immature). If untreated, the hormone imbalance might affect a woman’s appearance, overall health, menstrual cycle and her ability to bear children.

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Did you know that between six to twelve percent or roughly five million women of the childbearing age in the US have been diagnosed with PCOS. So, if you’re dealing with this challenge you’re not alone. This percentage makes it among the most common endocrine hormonal disorder and the common cause of infertility in women.

Fortunately, there are new procedures available that make it simpler for women to conceive without hormonal injections, reducing the risks for specific complications. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are the two most common infertility treatments available nowadays. Now, there has been a common dilemma experienced by several couples who have struggled to conceive on whether to choose IVF or IUI treatment. Your fertility consultant will advise you on the two treatment options, but it will be helpful to arm yourself with further information to better understand what they are, who they are best for, and their success rates to conceive.

With that in mind, Let’s look at some of the differences and success rates of IVF and IUI to help you choose which approach may be better for both you and your partner.

When it’s suitable to go straight for IUI treatment?

IUI could be an ideal treatment for you depending on your diagnosis and circumstances. It might suitable if you;

  • Have unblocked fallopian tubes.
  • Are capable to ovulate, maybe with some assistance of fertility medications.
  • Have a typical uterine cavity.
  • Have a healthy reserved ovary.

If you have the above diagnosis, then it will be best to try IUI treatment. It is normally very effective for mild ovulation issues, cervical issues, donor sperm, after male infertility, same sex partners and Mid-male factor infertility issues. If you are in one of these profiles, you can try IUI treatment before using IVF. You can also consult your fertility expert on the many cycles you want to try. Most people put a limit of three or even six failed cycles before considering to go for IVF treatment.

When to try IVF treatment?

Sometimes a patient is more likely to get satisfying results by skipping IUI treatment and start using IVF treatment. This is an option every patient needs to make for him or herself after consulting their fertility expert. This treatment will be best if you:

  • Have a blocked fallopian tube
  • Are over 38 years of age
  • Have reserved less ovaries
  • Are diagnosed with advanced endometriosis.
  • Choose to use donor eggs
  • Are suffering from severe male factor infertility that might need the use of enhanced technologies like intracytoplasmic sperm injection – ICSI.
  • Might need genetic screening.

IVF vs IUI: How do they contrast with each other?

Even though these treatments are normally named together, they have some major differences.


IUI is a one procedure where a prepared sperm is directly placed in a woman’s uterus while she’s ovulating so as to aid fertilization. It can be carried out in sync with your natural cycle or be timed with fertility treatments so as to quicken ovulation. But in IVF, the procedure consists of multiple stages and needs more than just one procedure. First, the ovaries are quickened using an array of fertility medications. Secondly, you will undergo an egg retrieval in a day process under a balmy anaesthetic. Thirdly, after your embryos have been made and incubated, they will be directly placed in your uterus during the embryo transfer process. Even in using fertility drugs, going through IVF is far much demanding and complicated than undergoing IUI.

Risks of conceiving multiples

There is a significant risk of conceiving multiples if you use IUI with fertility medication, including the possibilities of conceiving triplets or even more. To try and prevent this, you can get your follicles checked often, to guarantee that most are mature before the IUI, even though checking them will not eliminate the risk. On the other hand, the current advances in IVF like blastocyst transfer, helps modern clinics to transfer just one or two embryos per cycle. So, the risk of conceiving multiples while using IVF treatment is far much lower than it was before.

Time difference

Time factor cuts both methods when you are weighing upon IVF and IUI. IUI has a short procedure as compared to IVF, therefore, if your first menstruation cycle is a success, it can be the faster and better route to conceive. Moreover, because of their success rate gap, some women in their later thirties and forties might conceive quicker by directly choosing IVF, other than waiting to have a few more failed IUI cycles.


An IUI cycle is less expensive than an IVF cycle. This is a huge consideration for most patients. Nonetheless, depending on your chances and your IUI diagnosis, it might be cost-effective to directly to go for IVF cycles, other than dealing with several failed IUI cycles before continuing with IVF.

The Success rates of IVF vs IUI

The pregnancy success rate for IVF treatment is quite high, although not all conceptions could be a live birth. A current CDC statistic estimated a 31% live birth rate per cycle. Nonetheless, this depends on multiple variables like the kind of sperm or oocyte used, the duration of infertility, and the age of the woman. Success depends with the female age, as I have indicated below:

Below 35 years of age – 40%

35 to 37 years of age – 30%

38 to 40 years of age – 20%

41 to 42 years of age – 10%

43 to 44 years of age – 5%

For IUI treatment, the results are in a considerable number of pregnancies particularly with unexplained infertility. The mean average of live birth rates include:

Below 35 years of age – 16%

35 to 39 years of age – 11%

43 to 44 years of age – 4.7%

Over 44 years of age – it comes to nil

IUI has a slight increased risk for high gene or chromosomal defects and congenital malformations. Most of these genetic abnormalities might even cause male infertility which is a good reason for treatment.

Which is the best treatment for you?

When it come to deciding, picking between IVF and IUI depends on your age, budget and the conditions of both you and your partner’s reproductive organs. Both processes have promising and convincing histories of being victorious, although IVF treatment has proven to be the most successful method nowadays. But, it will be up to you to choose which treatment you are comfortable with. Choosing IUI is usually recommended at first, but if time is of essence for you or if you have a more challenging issue, you can consider IVF treatment. You can pick a good fertility clinic that prioritizes your personal needs over generic protocols. Also, it is significant to gather enough information on both treatments for your diagnosis to make the perfect decision. Knowing the exact challenges that have contributed to your infertility may help you and your specialist to establish the best treatment plan that provides you with the great chance of success.

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