Houston Fertility Center

IVF for Failed IUI Cycles

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on June 29, 2019

Test tube in a fertility clinic labInfertility is a common issue. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, 12-13 couples out of 100 will experience some setbacks when trying to become pregnant. Thankfully there are plenty of fertility treatment options out there, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). There is also intrauterine insemination (IUI), which is less expensive but has a lower rate of success.

Many people in the Houston, TX area have contacted Dr. Sonja Kristiansen with questions about IUI and IVF. We’d like to consider both, though specifically we want to go over why patients who’ve had bad luck with IUI may want to consider IVF instead.

The Success Rates of IUI

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the success rates of IUI can be as high as 20 percent. This number can vary depending on the age of the mother, the presence of any adverse health conditions, and the quality of the sperm used.

A success rate of 20 percent tops isn’t too high, but it is a sign of hope for people struggling to become pregnant. In fact, some estimate that attempting to conceive through natural means only has a success rate of about 20-25 percent during an average cycle.

Reasons for IUI Failure

During IUI, the sperm is introduced into the uterus but must make the rest of the trek to the fallopian tubes on their own. Even if the sperm reach an egg, there is no certainty that the egg will implant in the uterus after being fertilized.

IUI does help the process along, and a combination of sperm washing and the use of fertility drugs can increase the chances of success. However, a boost in the potential to beomce pregnant is no guarantee of pregnancy.

Why IVF May Be a Good Alternative

IVF offers greater control over variables related to the sperm, egg, fertilization, and implantation. During IVF, an egg is fertilized in a lab and allowed to develop into an embryo. When the embryo is ready, it is then transferred by fertility doctors so it can implant in the uterus and be carried to term.

Fertility drugs are used during this entire process to help ensure proper timing and the high potential for successful pregnancy and live birth. Donor eggs and donor sperm can also be used during an IVF cycle as needed, further increasing the chances of success.

How Many Failed IUI Cycles Before Trying IVF?

This can vary from patient to patient. With each failed IUI cycle, the team at Houston Fertility Center can assess what happened and whether or not it’s a good idea to try a different treatment. Sometimes a failed IUI cycle is just a matter of bad luck, while other times it may be determined that IUI is not the ideal option top try again.

The Success Rates of IVF

According to figures cited by WebMD, the pregnancy success rate of IVF averages out to 29.4 percent. Like IUI, the actual rate of success can vary based on the age of the mother, health conditions, and other factors.

Compared to IUI, the base/average success rate of IVF is notably higher. It’s no wonder that the vast majority of fertility procedures performed across the country involve IVF.

Helping You Make the Right Fertility Treatment Choices

Figuring out if you should switch to IVF or try IUI again can be difficult. That’s why we’re here. We can offer our insight and honest advice about the fertility treatment process so you are able to undergo the kind of treatment that is best suited for you.

Contact Houston Fertility Center

If you would like to learn more about the different assisted reproduction procedures we offer, contact our IVF treatment and fertility clinic. Dr. Kristiansen is here to help. You can schedule a consultation by calling (713) 862-6181.

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