Modern medicine offers many options for overcoming infertility and helping you to conceive. Two of the most common options include intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Although you’ve likely heard about these two fertility treatments before, you might be curious about the finer details on IUI vs. IVF. After all, both fertility treatments… Continue reading IUI vs. IVF: Success Rates, Costs & Procedures
iui vs ivf success rates costs procedures

Modern medicine offers many options for overcoming infertility and helping you to conceive. Two of the most common options include intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

Although you’ve likely heard about these two fertility treatments before, you might be curious about the finer details on IUI vs. IVF. After all, both fertility treatments offer you an alternative path to parenthood if you have been struggling to get pregnant naturally. 

This article will help you understand the differences of IUI vs. IVF to help you decide which is a better option for you. Keep reading to learn more about the medical procedure of each fertility treatment, their success rates, and individual costs. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended as medical advice. 

IUI vs. IVF: A Brief Overview of These Fertility Treatments

Both IUI and IVF are different types of assisted reproductive technology (ART). While they are quite similar in nature, they do vary in a few key ways. 

What Is IUI? 

For many people embarking on their fertility journey via ART, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a common first step because it’s cheaper and less invasive than IVF. 

If you’re new to IUI, it is a fertility procedure where the sperm is directly inserted into the uterus. Also known as artificial insemination, this relatively simple procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office.  

  1. Before insertion, a sperm sample is collected and treated in the lab where it undergoes a “washing” procedure to remove seminal fluid and concentrate the sample. 
  2. The sperm is then placed high up in the uterus to bypass the cervix and give it a head start. This helps to improve the chances of more sperm reaching the egg for fertilization to take place. 

IUI can be done as part of your natural menstrual cycle or it may require the use of fertility medications to encourage ovulation.

That said, IUI may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with: 

  • A severely diminished ovarian reserve
  • Two blocked fallopian tubes
  • A partner with extreme male factor infertility 

If you’re unsure whether IUI is appropriate for you, do check in with a licensed fertility clinic for more guidance. 

Related article: Conditions Affecting the Female Reproductive System

What Is IVF? 

what is ivf

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an ART procedure that fuses the egg with sperm outside of the body before transferring the fertilized embryo into the uterus. 

The IVF procedure involves fertility medications and injections to stimulate the ovaries for egg retrieval. Insemination is performed in a lab soon after retrieval to create fertilized eggs (aka embryos). These embryos are carefully monitored before they are transferred into the uterus or frozen for future use

Given that this fertility treatment is highly invasive, many people often ask, “Is IVF painful?” 

The short answer is that it’s highly subjective. Just as with skincare products, everyone responds to the IVF procedure differently. Some people may feel that it’s very painful while others might say the discomfort is tolerable. 

One thing to note is that while certain aspects of IVF can be uncomfortable (cue the hormone injections), the treatment itself should not cause you severe pain. 

If you experience unbearable agony at any stage of the IVF treatment, please consult your healthcare professional immediately.  

What Are the Success Rates of IVF vs. IUI?

The success rates of IVF vs. IUI depend on a number of factors, including age and underlying fertility issues. 

Due to the nature of IUI, this fertility treatment requires your ovaries, eggs, and fallopian tubes to be in tip-top condition, along with enough healthy, motile sperm to fertilize the egg. Because egg quality naturally declines with age, IUI is typically not recommended for individuals over 40 years old.  

Based on a 2010 study in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility, researchers found that the success rate of IUI for participants in their 30s was a whopping 38.5%. Meanwhile, individuals who tried IUI in their 40s only experienced a 12.5% success rate. 

The success rate of IVF depends on a number of factors, such as the specific causes of infertility and the patient’s age. Generally speaking, the younger you are, the higher your odds of conceiving through IVF. 

It also depends on how many cycles of IVF you underwent during your treatment plan. As one doctor explains, it can be helpful to think of IVF as a series of treatments rather than immediate success after only one cycle.   

According to the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), the chance of a baby for women under 30 is approximately 43% after one IVF cycle and 66% after three cycles. 

That number drops drastically for women aged 42-43 where the chance of a baby is only 6% after the first cycle and 11% after three stimulated cycles. 

Bear in mind that the reporting of success rates for IUI vs. IVF is complicated, as clinics and medical studies differ in a variety of factors including patient selection and the treatment duration. 

Related article: Understanding the Success Rates of IVF 

What Are the Costs of IUI vs. IVF?

costs of iui vs ivf

Many people choose to begin their fertility journey with IUI because it’s significantly less expensive than IVF. 

The General Costs of IUI 

A typical IUI procedure can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per cycle and is specific to the fertility clinic used. 

IUI costs can vary significantly, depending on whether medication is needed, the type of blood work and tests done as well as the number of follow-ups required. But do note that IUI has a lower success rate than IVF, so couples may require multiple cycles before conceiving, which increases the overall treatment costs. 

The General Costs of IVF 

costs of ivf fertility treatment

Objectively speaking, IVF is more expensive than IUI. 

That’s because the IVF procedure is lengthier, as it includes consultations with a fertility specialist, investigative tests, fertility treatments and medications, as well as advanced testing (like genetic screening). 

Given the differences in healthcare systems around the world, the cost of fertility treatments also varies greatly according to your geographical location. Check out the actual cost of engaging a fertility clinic based on your place of residence with Zora Health Directory. 

Compare Fertility Clinics’ Costs

Closer to home, the exact IVF costs in Singapore depend on whether you go the public or private route. 

IVF at a public hospital in Singapore is cheaper because the rates are subsidized. Thanks to government co-funding, you might have to fork out between S$10,000 and S$15,000 per cycle. For private clinics, the rates are higher, so be expected to pay anywhere between S$13,000 to S$22,000 per cycle. 

If you’re seeking treatment in the United States or the United Kingdom, you’d likely have to pay a substantial price tag too. A single cycle of IVF in the US typically ranges from USD$15,000 to USD$30,000. Meanwhile, in the UK, figures are slightly lower, with single cycles starting at about £7,000. 

In recent years, countries like Thailand have become a popular destination for IVF treatments due to their more affordable prices. IVF costs in Thailand can be as low as USD$4,500 or roughly S$6,100 per cycle. Similarly, IVF costs in Malaysia are between RM14,000 to RM16,000 (which amounts to about S$4,000-4,500) for one cycle. 

When considering where to go for IVF, it’s important to consider the cost of treatment, what’s included in the price, and the standard of care you’ll receive. 

Related article: Fertility Treatment Regulations in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand    

IUI vs. IVF: Pick the One That’s Suitable for Your Fertility Needs

iui vs ivf pick suitable fertility treatment

Choosing between IUI vs. IVF can be a difficult decision as there are many factors to consider. 

Sure, most healthcare practitioners might recommend IUI as the first-line treatment because it’s cheaper and less time-consuming. However, the chances of getting pregnant with this fertility procedure are relatively lower than that of IVF.  

Meanwhile, IVF is more invasive and expensive than IUI. This fertility treatment might also be your only option if you have fertility factors that prevent you from choosing IUI — for example, you have two blocked fallopian tubes. 

The best thing you can do is to find a fertility specialist that will work with you to figure out what’s best for your unique health needs. Because there are so many options on the market, decision paralysis is real. 

Fret not, as Zora Health can help you choose the right fertility clinic so you can jumpstart your fertility journey with ease and peace of mind. Book a free discovery call with us today to speak with our experts. 


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