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How Many Cycles of IUI Before IVF?
By Francis Polansky, M.D.
Your (the female partner) age will determine whether you should consider intrauterine inseminations (IUI) as a possible fertility treatment for you. As a general guideline, if you are 39 or older, your remaining reproductive potential may be too “valuable” to spend on IUI’s. You may decide to proceed to IVF treatment without delay.
If you are younger than 39, ovulate, have functional Fallopian tubes, and if there is no severe male factor, you could try one or more cycles of IUI’s. Such treatment would be provided by your regular OB/GYN.
You should not repeat the IUI’s too many times. If the IUI is the treatment you need to conceive, the probability of a successful outcome will follow the Fecundity Curve.
As you can see, this curve is first quite steep. Approximately half of the pregnancies will occur within the first three cycles of IUI’s. By the time you have had 6 to 9 cycles of the IUI treatment, the curve becomes flat. Each additional IUI treatment is now unlikely to result in a successful outcome.
To summarize: If you are a candidate for IUI and would like to try it before a potential IVF treatment, you should plan for no more than 3 to 9 cycles of IUI’s. If the IUI treatment was not successful, consider proceeding to In Vitro Fertilization.