Most people are more familiar with IVF, a reproductive therapy that includes taking hormones to boost ovulation, retrieving eggs during the ovulation window, fertilizing the eggs with partner or donor sperm, and then the embryos are transferred back to the uterus. The hope is that successful implantation will occur and that a healthy pregnancy will progress.
IUI is another form of artificial insemination. However, the process is usually less complex than IVF. Fertilization takes place inside the body because, with IUI, sperm collected from a partner or donor is inserted directly into the uterus during a woman’s ovulation window. In short, IUI eliminates the process of sperm needing to travel from the vagina and can boost the chances of conception.
IUI vs IVF
Both IUI and IVF have pros and cons. While IUI is often cheaper and less invasive for the woman, reproductive therapy can still require a woman to take fertility medication to boost egg release. And consequently, multiple births are possible. Meanwhile, IVF’s high costs and emotional impact can be offset by the highest success rates across all age groups.
Fertility treatments for women over 40
Historically, success rates are always the lowest for women aged 40 and up, regardless of the fertility treatment attempted. Keep in mind that when women are born, the ovaries already possess all the possible eggs available. Egg quality declines as a woman ages. So, while IVF still has the best success rates of all the assisted reproductive therapy (ART) options, the success stories are significantly smaller in older women.
Picking the right ART track
Many factors will influence whether an older woman should opt for IUI over IVF. However, in most cases, fertility specialists will usually recommend opting for IVF first because of the higher success rates. However, if a woman or couple is adamant about trying IUI, the recommendations can vary from just one to no more than three cycles. If a couple has concerns about age and fertility, consider speaking with a physician or reproductive specialist to determine if infertility is an issue and the best solutions to try to conceive.