The Differences Between IUI and IVF

The two most common medical procedures for treating infertility are:

  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) also known as artificial insemination
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Both IUI and IVF are proven methods of increasing a woman’s chance of conceiving a baby according to Dr. George Kofinas – a pioneer in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) – who has successfully treated thousands of women for their infertility by way of both IUI and IVF for over 28 years. To lessen your confusion about these ART procedures, this article will help you to understand the basic differences between IVF and IUI.

Differences – IVF vs. IUI

Infertility Diagnosis

IVF – Prescribed for women who have failed to achieve a pregnancy after undergoing less complicated medical procedures, such as IUI. Also, in cases of:

  • Advanced maternal age of a woman – typically, over 30 years of age
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovulation disorders – premature ovarian failure or uterine fibroids
  • Lack of fallopian tubes due to surgical removal
  • Genetic disorder
  • Male factor infertility, including blockage, decreased sperm count or motility
  • Unexplained infertility

IUI – Commonly prescribed as a first option for women who have been unable to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse. IUI is typically recommended:

  • For women who have unobstructed fallopian tubes
  • For women who have a normal uterine cavity
  • For women whose male partner has low sperm count or other sperm deficiencies.


IVF is an outpatient surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia

IUI is performed in the doctor’s office and requires no anesthesia

Ovarian Follicle Growth

IVF – The patient is administered a series of hormone medication injections to stimulate the development of multiple follicles through the stage of egg maturity and one additional injection to induce ovulation.

IUI – The patient is administered an oral medication – typically, Clomid alone or Clomid in combination with low dose of Gonadotropin(FSH/LH) injections during her cycle to stimulate egg growth and one injected ovulation trigger medication (HCG) in order to induce ovulation.

Union of Eggs with Sperm


  • The patient’s eggs are retrieved by the doctor using a transvaginal ultrasound-guided aspiration tool.
  • The patient’s eggs are then fertilized with sperm in a controlled embryological laboratory.
  • All resulting embryos are continuously monitored until they reach an optimum stage of development.
  • One or more high grade embryo(s) are then transferred to the woman’s uterus via an insemination catheter.

IUI – Artificial Insemination

The development of the patient’s egg follicles are monitored throughout the woman’s egg growth stage of her cycle with blood level hormone measurements and pelvic ultrasounds daily in order to determine the prime time to induce release of the eggs via HCG injection administration.

The patient’s male partner’s sperm specimen is produced in the doctor’s office (or frozen donor sperm is retrieved) and prepared in a laboratory setting using special viability enhancement solutions.

The semen specimen is washed and prepared for insertion into the woman’s uterus using an insemination catheter.


IUI – lower cost treatment option

  • The preparation and insertion of the sperm assures that a highly concentrated amount of morphologically normal, mobile and active sperm are placed directly into the woman’s uterus.
  • Usually 2 IUI inseminations are performed after the HCG ovulation release injection – between 12 and 36 hours after administration – to increase the chance of conception.
  • Provides a low cost infertility treatment alternative for increasing a woman’s chance of pregnancy.

IVF – procedure variations

  • Transfer of frozen (cryopreserved) embryos (FET)
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
  • Assisted Hatching (AH)
  • Blastocyst culture
  • Preimplantation Genetic Screening/Diagnosis (PGS/PGD)
  • Donor eggs
  • Oocyte (egg) and sperm cryopreservation

Kofinas Fertility Institute

Dr. George Kofinas – the founder of Kofinas Fertility Institute in 1987 – is a pioneering doctor of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Dr. Kofinas has successfully treated thousands of patients suffering from infertility by utilizing both IUI and IVF.

To talk with an ART medical specialist having knowledge about your IUI and IVF treatment choices – contact Kofinas Fertility Institute.