You've probably heard people talking about IUI many times, but you may not have realized it; many people call it "artificial insemination." IUI uses a concentrated selection of sperm which are inserted directly into a woman's uterus. IUI is performed depending on the woman's ovulation cycle, and the procedure may even happen twice in one day once the woman begins ovulating. During ovulation, the egg waits in the fallopian tube to be fertilized by the sperm. Using IUI at a specific time and having a trained infertility specialist perform the procedure will ensure the greatest chance of a sperm and an egg meeting.
IVF, on the other hand, is typically considered a more successful method of increasing fertility compared to artificial insemination. This process includes the removal of eggs from the woman's ovaries, fertilization of the eggs, and replacement of the fertilized eggs in the uterus.
It's never possible to say with 100% certainty that an infertility procedure is going to be successful, and even if an egg is fertilized, there's no guarantee that it will turn into a successful and healthy pregnancy. That being said, IVF treatments tend to be more precise than artificial insemination because the eggs are already fertilized once they are placed into the uterus. Fertility is a very fickle thing and it does depend on a variety of factors such as age (it begins dropping around age 30 in women) and the cause of infertility. That being said, as many as 90% of infertility cases are treated successfully through drug treatments or medical procedures.
Which One Is Best?
Artificial insemination is typically cheaper than an IVF treatment, but IVF success rates tend to be higher (meaning that the cost savings of IUI might end up disappearing). At the moment, 15 states actually require insurance policies to cover certain infertility treatments, so cost may not be the biggest concern for you. IUI may be suitable for women who don't necessarily have a problem with fertility; same-sex couples, for example, may find great success with IUI. IVF treatments may be preferable if a couple knows that an infertility problem is present in the woman's reproductive system or if a man's sperm count is low.
Ultimately, the option you choose depends on your own personal situation.