in vitro fertilisation (ivf)

Difference Between IVF and IUI based on their Cost, Risks, and Success Rate

  • 4.5   (1 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 14 Dec 2018 - Written by Dr. Sushma Dikhit - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

IVF and IUI are two major infertility treatments which help a couple in conceiving a baby. The difference between IUI and IVF is based on their risk, cost, complexity, and IUI and IVF success rates. The cost of IUI is more less than the cost of IVF treatment. The time period of IVF procedure is more as compared to IUI treatment.

Both Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In vitro Fertilization (IVF) are fertility treatments used to help couples who are having a hard time to conceive. The major difference between IUI and IVF treatments is that IVF is a procedure involving egg stimulation, retrieval, fertilization, and transfer, whereas, in IUI the sperms are injected into a uterus to make the travel easy for the sperms to reach the egg.

People often think that IUI and an IVF are same treatments performed through different methods to achieve and that they give same results, but in fact, in close comparison, there are a number of differences between them. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In vitro Fertilization (IVF) are two commonly used methods to treat infertility, which increase a couple’s chance of becoming pregnant.

IUI is a procedure in which processed and concentrated motile sperms are deposited directly into a woman’s uterus. The process is timed according to a woman’s ovulation and may be performed one to two times in the days following the ovulation phase. After ovulation, a woman’s egg moves to one of the fallopian tubes and waits for the sperm to fertilize it. Since the IUI procedure deposits higher concentrations of good quality sperms close to the egg, the chances of fertilization are increased. 

On the other hand, IVF is the most successful method used in infertility treatments to help couples conceive. The basic requirement of IVF process involves stimulation of ovaries to produce multiple eggs at a time. It is followed by removal of mature eggs from an ovary known as egg retrieval process. Next, the eggs are fertilized in a laboratory, and finally, the healthy embryos are placed into the uterus in a process known as embryo transfer. The chance of pregnancy from IVF depends primarily on the age of a woman, the cause of infertility, and factors related to precision of the embryologist and IVF laboratory procedures.

Even though these treatments are often mentioned together, they have many significant differences.

1. Complexity

IUI is relatively simpler when compared to IVF in terms of procedure and time taken to perform it. In IUI, treated sperms are placed directly in a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating in order to fertilize the eggs. IUI is performed in conjunction with a woman’s natural cycle or timed with fertility medications to stimulate ovulation. IVF, on the other hand, is a process which requires more than one procedure. First, ovaries are stimulated using a series of fertility medications, then a woman undergoes egg retrieval under a mild anesthetic. The eggs and sperms are mixed together in a petri dish and left for fertilization. After embryos are formed, they are picked and placed directly into the uterus.

2. Risk of multiples

IUI with fertility medication has a significant risk of multiple pregnancies. In reputed clinics, a doctor carefully monitors the follicles present in ovaries to make sure that only a safe number of mature are eggs are there, but despite the precautions taken, the risk cannot be entirely eliminated. In case of most of the modern IVF clinics, they prefer blastocyst transfer, which means that only one or two developed embryos are transferred per IVF cycle. As a result, the risk of multiples from IVF treatment is much lower than it used to be.

3. Time

Both IUI and IVF take time and patience to achieve. In close comparison, IUI is a much shorter process than IVF. If the procedure is successful in the first cycle, it can be the quickest route to getting pregnant. However, because of the difference in success rates between the two treatments, some patients in their late 30s to early 40s may get pregnant faster by going directly to IVF treatment rather than going through several failed IUI cycles.

4. Cost

An IUI cycle costs much less than an IVF cycle as there are less preparation and procedures involved in it. However, depending on diagnosis, it may take a number of IUI cycles to conceive therefore it may be more cost-effective to go directly to an IVF cycle rather than going through with multiple failed IUI cycles. 

5. Success rates

The success rate of IUI and IVF is never specific as there are many variables that can affect individual cases. IUI has lower success rates than IVF, when it comes to women in their late thirties, the gap widens with increase in women’s age.
Average success rates in IUI using fertility medication range from 8 percent to 15 percent per cycle for patients under 40 years of age. It is two to five percent for patients over 40 years, whereas, in IVF, the success rates using women’s own eggs range from 40 percent to 45 percent for patients under 35 years to 15 percent or less for women over 42 years.

Right Candidates for IUI and IVF treatments

There are some situations where only one method can be successful in achieving pregnancy. Here are differences in infertility cases a doctor considers before going for a particular procedure.

An infertility patient may benefit from Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) treatment if:

Success rates of IUI can be compared with those trying to get pregnant naturally with healthily functioning reproductive systems. These rates often depend on the age of a woman, the condition of her fallopian tubes, and male’s sperm count. Recent studies have revealed women under the age of 35 years have 10 to 20 percent chances of achieving pregnancy, whereas women between 35 to 40 years have an average of 10 percent and women above 40 years have only 2 to 5 percent chances. In most cases, women under 35 years usually try 5 to 6 cycles of IUI before switching to IVF.

Patients may benefit from In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) if:

  • A woman has blocked, removed or damaged fallopian tubes
  • A woman has advanced endometriosis
  • A man has a low sperm count
  • One of the couple has a genetic disorder
  • A couple is experiencing unexplained infertility
  • A couple has undergone six or more failed IUI cycles

The process of achieving fertilization outside of the body and returning the embryo directly to the uterus remarkably increases the chance for success. Women under the age of 35 years have about a 43 percent chance of getting pregnant and women between 35 to 40 years of age have about a 20 percent chance. A single IVF cycle can cost as high as Rs. 3,30,000 in Delhi though many fertility clinics including embryo freezing. Though the prices of this option are comparatively higher than IUI, there are more chances of success. 

What is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing the right treatment between IUI and IVF, the patient must consider their budget, age, and conditions of reproductive organs of both partners. Both the procedures are reliable and have promising histories of being successful. It is up to the couple to decide which path they require and are more comfortable with. Usually, IUI is often recommended first, as it is less invasive with fewer risks involved but if a couple wants to achieve faster results IVF is a better route.

Patients can consult with a doctor and consider the outcomes carefully. Patients can also contact Elawoman’s infertility specialist to get better suggestions. We can also provide infertile couples with a list of recommended doctors and clinic so that the treatments are performed without interruption. Contact us at +917899912611 to book an appointment.

Dr. Sushma Dikhit

Written by

Infertility Specialist, IVF Specialist

Dr. Sushma Dikhit is a gynecologist and obstetrician specializing in High-risk pregnancy care, Obstetric care, Endometriosis treatment as well as IUI and IVF treatments. Dr. Sushma also cleared the examinations of MRCOG from Royal College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, London in 2006. She has completed MBBS and MS in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Gajra Raja Medical College, Gwalior in 1981 and 1984 respectively. Dr. Sushma is a member of associations like East Delhi Gynecologist Forum (EDGF), Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology Society of India (FOGSI) and Associations of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Delhi (AOGD). Dr. Sushma is practicing at Max Super Speciality Hospital and Clinic 12 IRS in Ghaziabad. To know more about Dr. Sushma Dikhit, visit


1.  Iui procedure vs ivf : choosing the best infertility treatment for positive pregnancy  Both Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In vitro Fertilization (IVF), Elawoman - 2017
2.  How does intrauterine insemination help to conceive? iui success rates  Intrauterine insemination, Elawoman - 2017
3.  Important aspects of ivf which couples must know before opting for the procedure  In vitro Fertilization, Elawoman - 2017
4.  What are the steps in embryo transfer procedure in ivf treatment?  embryo transfer, Elawoman - 2017
5.  Microscopic anatomy of uterus and functions of uterus in women and pregnancy  woman’s uterus, Elawoman - 2017
6.  Iui procedure step by step - iui cost, when is iui treatment needed?  IUI cycle costs, Elawoman - 2017
7.  Must know factors which determine success rates for iui treatment  success rate of IUI, Elawoman - 2017
8.  Low sperm count - causes, sperm analysis test, male infertility treatments  low sperm count or motility, Elawoman - 2017
9.  Best 8 natural erectile dysfunction treatments - diet, exercise, supplement  erectile dysfunction, Elawoman - 2018
10.  Sperm donor iui procedure - procedure, benefits, drawbacks of this iui treatment  couple is using donor sperm, Elawoman - 2018

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Shattesh Ilyas

Dec. 14, 2018, 6:22 p.m. 4.5

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