Is IUI Worth It?

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When I decided to opt for assisted reproduction, my first thought was IUI. I felt that, regardless of my hormonal issues, I had decent ovulatory function, and since my tubal blockage was the main problem, there was no need pulling out the big guns for IVF. Besides it was much cheaper, and far more realistic for me at the time. So when I marched to the clinic for my first appointment, I went to discuss IUI. The doctor I met was quite patient, and took his time to explain why, bearing in mind my medical history, IUI might just end up being a waste of money. My 1-tube situation that I thought wasn’t enough reason for IVF was the reason why the doctor thought IUI might not work for me. According to him, if regular sex made you scale 3 hurdles, IUI would improve that number by just 1 or 2. So, in effect, I would have almost the same odds. By the time I walked out of the clinic, I was Team #IVF.

Over the next few days, I thought about my online friends who had opted for IUI, and realised how low their success rates were. Most of them had to try as many as 9 times before they were successful. Some not even then. Of course there were the few who were successful the 1st or 2nd time around, but this number was very small compared to those that were not. Upon carrying out further research, I found out that the average success rate for IUI hovers around 5 to 15% with each cycle. This was even lower than IVF’s 25%.

What was really the point of IUI, I asked myself? When I read about the process, I realised that it was essentially a more scientific approach to sex, with every other thing being the same, except for the deeper access to the uterus and, of course, minus the pleasure!! Yes, there was the benefit of having the sperm “washed” beforehand, but apart from this, it was basically sex, turkey baster style.

But even with the fairly basic procedure (compared to IVF), the build up was pretty much the same. In most cases, the ovaries would still need to be stimulated, and the couple would still require a series of clinic visits, ultrasound monitoring, blood tests, etc., just like an IVF cycle. Using an analogy, its the same as a light weight boxer, training with almost the same intensity as a heavy weight boxer. The thing is, the heavy weight guy is more likely to win a big ticket fight, whilst you barely manage to sell out local venues.

It suddenly dawned on me that even though IUI appears so much cheaper than IVF, in actual fact you end up spending at least as much, best case. The reality is that, by the time you have had 7 failed IUI cycles, you are so out-of-pocket that you can’t even afford the IVF cycle you need. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some people’s bodies are seemingly made for IUI. One of my closest friends has had 3 successful pregnancies, all from IUI. But she is one of the lucky ones.

The truth of the matter is that most women will waste a lot of cycles on this procedure, with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Whenever anyone asks for my opinion, I am always quick to discourage people from opting for IUI. Whether you are 21 or 45, I just don’t see the need wasting your time. With every failed cycle of IUI, you sacrifice 4 weeks of your life you will never get back. You put your body through a lot, suffer the same nerve wracking 2-week wait, only for you to get a BFN, staring you right in the face. Nah, I don’t think so. As long as you have decided that assisted reproduction is for you, just go for IVF. I’m just saying…

In conclusion, go big…or just go home.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderful piece Nicole. My thoughts exactly. I have always considered iui a waste of resources as the success rate is too low. If you are going for assisted reproduction, IVF is d best option. I so agree with you.

  2. Hi Nicole, am 30 and hubby is 31. We have been married 1 year 6 months now. After a year of TTC naturally without success, we decided to consult a fertility clinic December 2014, my test results (HSG, blood work, hormonal) came out excellent but hubby had low motility count, he was given vitamin E and enhanz
    (Which he still takes). Hubby repeated the semen analysis test in March and it improved greatly, so the doctor suggested we induce my ovulation with clomid and hormone shots (scan showed I responded well as we saw multiple mature follicles), this was in April….Unfortunately it was not successful and the doc suggested we try it again but the disappointment made me tell him we will try naturally. Am in my 2 weeks of wait this month and ready to try IUI if I get a BFN. Should we continue naturally, go for IUI or…? Please help. Thanks.

    • Hi there Kiki, in your case I think IUI might be just a bit better than trying naturally. This is because only a good sample of your husband’s semen will be used. How was his count? Good? If his count is okay, then you could also give trying naturally a go…but this will mean him religiously taking his meds, and eating the right foods for improving sperm quality.

      Good luck dear!

    • Hi Kiki. How is your husband’s count? If he has a good count, but only poor motility, sticking to a good medication and diet plan could help improve his sperm quality, so you could try naturally.

      However, if his count isn’t great…IUI might be better, but only marginally.

      Good luck dear!

      :hug:

      • Hi Nicole, thanks for the quick response….very much appreciated. Yes he’s sperm count is great morphology and the rest are fine, they only found the motility to be low in December 2014 but after repeated test in April 2015 and June 2015 the motility was 68% and 56% respectively as against the initial 15% in December 2014. Yes he has been trying he’s meds religiously, well expect for last month he just took it for 2 weeks. He’s has resumed taking them.

  3. That’s great Kiki. If his motility is improving, you could actually keep trying naturally. Make sure you have sex at the right time, so that you don’t miss ovulation, and let’s see what happens in another 6 months! :good:

  4. Hi Nicole, I am be married for 7years now without a child, d point is dat my hubby has a low sperm count which he has be working on it, but recently d result show no sperm at all. When we see our doctor, d doctor say dat he wil operate on him which he did and after d operation and d treatment d result has not change pls Wat wil I do to save d situation. Am 34 years

    • Hello kinky. I’m really sorry about your husband’s situation. Was the operation to retrieve sperm or to open a blocked sperm duct? Is IVF an option for you? That might be the best solution, as they will be able to use any sperm retrieved from your husband for the procedure.

    • Hello cat. Have they run all possible tests on you? Hormonal (to rule out PCOS, or prolactin issues)? HSG (to check your tubes)? Hysteroscopy (to check your uterus)? Thyroid function? Sperm analysis (to check your husband’s sperm count, mobility and motility)? If all these are fine, maybe what you need to do is keep taking/doing things that will help boost conception (http://thefertilechickonline.com/conception-boosters/)

      A lot of couples suffer from unexplained infertility, and it is usually only a matter of time. But if you get impatient, you could always opt for assisted reproduction (IUI or IVF). Is this something you might consider?

  5. I am 42yrs still on TTC, hv fibroid operation about 6yrs ago, d fibroid has grown back and bigger, pls I need ur advise bcos am confuse and don’t what do again

    • Hello Hadiza. So sorry to read about that. What size exactly is the fibroid? You know it can be also removed non-surgically (vaginally / laparoscopically)? If you need to remove it, this could be a consideration, or you could also manage it with Paxherbal’s FIB solution, which has been known to help a lot of women :good:. Apple Cider Vinegar is also a good option too :yes:

  6. Hi Nicole I’m 27 and my hubby is 35 got married in October 2014 started trying but no pregnancy den had to go for a transviginnal scan in Feb 2015 becos of my irregular periods found out I had Pcos did hormone inbalannce too my prolactin was high with progesterone low and low estradol so my doctor placed me on parlodel annd metformin den in April 2015 I missed my period den I started spotting 1st of June2015 @ exactly 12weeks did an ultrasound and it said my sac was growing but no fetal pole seen dat it’s called blighted ovum I evacuated den started ttc again,started the metformin again and parlodel as advised by my doctor together with clomid in August and September, then in October 2015 period was on 20th to 23rd den was booked for HSG on 29th den started spotting on 28th ran a preg test and it showed positive on 29th but scan showed nothing, didn’t get a period in November but on 4th of dec pt tested Negative doctor said I had miscarried Naturally. Den Jan 2016 doctor placed mi on Cabergoline started on 8th of Jan with Metformin again for 3cycles that’s January, February,March together with clomid, but what I dnt understand why I had a weakly positive pregnancy result on 20th of April den started bleeding again on 25th of April sorry I forgot, I did another hormone Analysis in November 2014 results still showed high prolactin , low progesterone and low fsh. Dis is how far I’ve gone with ttc don’t really understand what’s giong on. One blighted ovum, 1 positve pregnancy test wit spotting ltr, another weakly positve pregnancy test but with a period one week ltr pls I don’t understand why all dis.

    • Hi Eby, sorry this is coming later than normal. From your comment, its obvious hormones are the main issue here, especially high prolactin. Since your doctor is giving you something to reduce prolactin production, he/she might want to increase your progesterone levels, so as to give any implanted embie, a fighting chance. Talk to your doctor about that.
      cc: @nicole

    • Dear Eby, so sorry about all you’ve gone through. With your pregnancies, were you placed on any form of progesterone support (suppository or injections)?

  7. The duphaston was wen I was spotting my doctor asked mi to take it to help stop the spotting but apart from that he didn’t place mi on any progesterone suppositories

  8. A menstrual flow which is naturally done in 5days and in the first two days came rushing and pure. Then towards the evening of its second day, the flow suddenly stopped and for the rest of the remaining 3 days, it only drizzle.

    I want a candid implication of the scenario to be revealed

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