The decision to have IUI or IVF treatment is made in consultation with a fertility specialist and depends on many factors:
- Fallopian tubes – for IUI the fallopian tubes that carry the egg to the womb need to be clear. IVF overcomes the problem of damaged or blocked tubes.
- Ovarian reserve – the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is produced by follicles in the ovary and can provide an indication of the egg reserve. If the level is low, then it may be advised to use IVF as the ovaries will be stimulated to create multiple eggs. For a same-sex female couple both partners should be tested, and this may also indicate which partner’s eggs should be used (it is possible for either partner to then carry the pregnancy).
- Age – fertility declines with age. For women aged 37 or under and in good health both IUI or IVF are options. Women aged 38 or over are usually advised to have IVF for a greater chance of success.
- Cost – although a single cycle of IUI is less expensive and less invasive than IVF it does not produce extra embryos for further treatment and the chances of success per cycle are less than those for IVF. If donated sperm is being used for multiple treatments of IUI then it may be comparable in cost to IVF.
- Medical advice – an experienced fertility consultant will advise patients of the most appropriate treatment option depending on individual circumstances.