If fertility terms like IUI, IVF, and IVI have you screaming, “IDK!”, you’re not alone 🙏
In the modern era, there is a wide spectrum of assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods available to people who are trying to conceive (TTC) beyond penetrative sex.
In this article, we’ll focus on the three most popular artificial insemination procedures:
- IUI (intrauterine insemination)
- IVF (in-vitro fertilization)
- IVI (intravaginal insemination)
So, which fertility treatment is right for you if you’re trying to get pregnant fast? Keep scrolling to find the answer to your most pressing question.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice.
IUI vs. IVF vs. IVI: Which Is Better for You?
TTC folks may likely have heard of IUI, IVF, and IVI, especially if you have been trying for a while now without success.
There are crucial differences between these three fertility procedures to help you decide which is best for you. Ahead, we’ll compare their differences according to:
- Who it is best for
- Treatment cost
- Success rates
Let’s get started!
IUI Procedure for Conception
IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a fertility treatment that involves directly placing sperm into the uterus during the fertile window.
It’s less invasive than IVF, but more expensive than IVI — more on that later.
Who Should Consider IUI?
The IUI procedure is typically recommended for couples facing fertility issues such as:
- Cervical-related problems
- Anovulation (when the egg is not released during the menstrual cycle)
- Ejaculation conditions like erectile dysfunction (read how this couple with ED got pregnant with the Applicator!)
- Unexplained infertility
That said, IUI isn’t ideal if you are trying to get pregnant at 35 years old and above, and/or experience health conditions like:
- Severe male infertility
- Fallopian tube blockage
Depending on your fertility specialist’s recommendation, the IUI procedure can be performed with or without ovarian stimulation. (ICYDK, ovarian stimulation encourages the ovaries to release more than one egg during a single ovulation cycle, potentially increasing the chances of fertilization and pregnancy 😉)
The Cost of IUI
Compared with IVF, IUI is a more cost-effective fertility treatment in most countries.
According to Fertility Support Singapore, the cost of IUI in private centers is as high as S$1,800 to S$3,000 for the first cycle.
At public hospitals, IUI expenses are lower with the Singapore government’s co-funding scheme.
Depending on the nationalities of both partners, the amount of co-funding ranges from 35% (or up to S$500) per cycle to 75% (or up to S$1,000) for up to three cycles.
In the United Kingdom
Based on data from the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), the cost of one IUI cycle at a private fertility clinic is “£700 to £1,600.”
While NHS funding is available, you’ll have to jump through a few loops to qualify for it.
For example, you’re not able to have procreative sex due to a physical disability, or if you’re in a same-sex relationship and still haven’t conceived after six cycles of private IUI treatment.
IUI Success Rates
Perhaps of most interest to TTC couples considering IUI would be the treatment’s success rates.
According to the scientific literature, the likelihood of IUI resulting in a pregnancy is 10.9% per cycle. With every additional cycle, the likelihood slightly increases to “approximately 19%” on average.
IVF Procedure for Conception
IVF, aka in-vitro fertilization, is another well-known and commonly used fertility treatment to help couples get pregnant via artificial means.
As the name “in-vitro” suggests, the egg is fused with the sperm outside the body, usually in a laboratory setting. The fertilized egg is then implanted into the uterus, where it develops into a full-fledged baby if it’s successfully carried to term.
Who Should Consider IVF?
If you’re <35 years old and had trouble conceiving for more than 12 months, or you’re ≥35 and struggled with getting pregnant for the last 6 months, it may be time to speak to a licensed healthcare professional like a fertility specialist.
These medical providers are in the best position to advise whether IVF is the best course of action for you.
In general, most healthcare practitioners usually recommend IVF if you also experience fertility problems such as:
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- A low sperm count
- Abnormal sperm morphology
Of course, IVF is highly invasive and expensive compared to other fertility treatments like IUI. So, it’s best to mentally and financially prepare yourself before committing to the treatment plan.
The Cost of IVF
As previously mentioned, the cost of IVF can be sky-high, so it’s recommended for you to understand the expenses upfront.
This way, you can budget accordingly, and ensure you’re able to commit to as many IVF cycles as advised by your doctor for the best chances of getting pregnant.
According to Singhealth, IVF costs around S$10,000 to $S12,000 per cycle, a seemingly exorbitant amount compared to IUI and IVI (more details about IVI later).
The good news is that government co-funding is also available for TTC couples. For the first three fresh IVF cycles, the subsidies range from 35% (or up to S$3,600) to 75% (or up to $7,700) per cycle.
In the United Kingdom
IVF also costs an arm and a leg for most people living in the U.K., especially at private clinics where 1 cycle reportedly costs at least £5,000.
While government subsidies are available, the “postcode lottery” affects how many government-funded IVF cycles you may get based on where you reside.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) typically recommends three cycles of IVF treatment on NHS if you meet specific requirements. But due to the postcode lottery, you may only get one, two, or none at all.
According to Daily Mail UK, “the vast majority of integrated care boards don't offer three full IVF cycles to women under 40, as recommended by NICE guidelines.”
In other words, expect to fork out a substantial amount from your own pocket for IVF expenses.
IVF’s Success Rates
FWIW, the success rate of IVF is relatively high when compared to other artificial insemination treatments.
While that may help justify the high costs of IVF to a certain extent, do note that IVF doesn’t guarantee 100% success in helping you get pregnant.
Based on a 2023 study published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, IVF success rates by age are as follows:
- <30 years old: 69.4%
- 30-34 years old: 52.6%
- 35-39 years old: 24.7%
- 40-43 years old: 9.4%
Given the sharp drop in IVF success rates from your mid-30s and beyond, it’s no wonder that fertility doctors usually recommend this fertility treatment if you’re trying to conceive at a relatively younger age.
IVI Procedure for Conception
IVI, or intravaginal insemination, is another fertility procedure that involves depositing sperm deep inside the vaginal tract, often with a syringe-like fertility aid.
The idea is to allow as much semen to travel through the vagina so that more sperm reaches the egg, which may improve the odds of conception.
Compared to IUI and IVF, IVI is simpler, less invasive, and more affordable. Also, IVI can be performed at home without requiring a medical audience.
Who Should Consider IVI?
Due to its simplicity and ease of use, IVI is often thought of as the first-line option for TTC couples to try if they want to speed up their process of getting pregnant.
Folks who aren’t ready for more invasive treatments mentally, physically, or financially may also benefit from using IVI.
That’s where at-home IVI kits, like the twoplus Applicator Extra, come in handy.
Our sperm syringe is specially designed for self-insemination without professional help, so you can take charge of your conception efforts in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Why the Applicator Extra is the sperm syringe for you:
- As slim as a tampon: With the thickness of a regular tampon, this syringe is made to accommodate all body sizes.
- Rounded barrel: Ensures >90% of semen leaves the syringe so you get the most out of your sperm sample.
- Soft Tip: Reduces immediate semen leakage out of the vagina + enhances comfort during insertion.
- Plunger designed for single-hand use: Self-inseminate anytime, anywhere, at your own pace.
The Cost of IVI
The great thing about IVI is its relative affordability compared to IUI and IVF.
Case in point: A 3-Cycle pack of Applicator Extra is merely a fraction of the costs of 1 cycle of IUI or IVF.
This means that you can save big on your fertility expenses and invest more into other things that greatly matter, such as Baby’s educational future.
IVI Success Rates
The less expensive a fertility procedure is doesn’t necessarily mean the less effective it will be.
If that’s your concern with using IVI, perhaps data from this 2021 study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine and Biology can put your mind at ease.
- 58 out of 144 participants who ovulate got pregnant with IVI, resulting in a 40.3% success rate
- 66.7% of the successful test subjects got pregnant within 3 uses of IVI
- 84.2% of the successful test subjects conceived within 6 uses of IVI
On top of that, the study’s researchers also recommended the following guidelines to maximize the success rate of IVI:
- Partners with sperm should ideally be ≤36 years old
- You’ve tried for or struggled with infertility for ≤3 years
- Partners with sperm should ideally have a normal sperm profile (use the twoplus at-home Sperm Count Test Kit to see if you actually need an in-depth fertility screening)
- Tried IVI for a minimum of 3 times
Pick the Right Fertility Treatment for Your Conception Needs
Now that you have a better idea of IUI vs. IVF vs. IVI, hopefully you aren’t at the mercy of decision paralysis anymore.
To sum up, use your personal fertility indicators to determine what’s the best course of action for you.
Look at your and your partner’s age, length of TTC duration, and fertility health. Of course, don’t neglect emotional and financial factors such as how comfortable you would be with the level of invasiveness of each ART procedure and how much budget have you set aside for these treatments.
We wish you all the best on your quest toward parenthood! ❤️