Since Clomid wasn’t working for us, my RE presented us with two options: move on to injectable drugs in conjunction with IUI, or go straight to IVF. There were a few things for us to consider before deciding which path to take:
1. The Odds. My RE has told me that with IUI, you have a 25% chance of conceiving—the same chance as any couple trying to conceive the usual way. With IVF, the odds go up, and you have a 40% chance of conceiving (though I’ve seen lower statistics online). IVF definitely wins this one. (Score: IVF=1, IUI=0).
2. The Cost. My health insurance only covers diagnostic testing, and not any “procreative management”. Each injectable/IUI cycle costs about $2000 (depending on the dosage, etc), while IVF is at least $10,000/cycle. Since this would be all out of pocket, IUI handily wins this battle. (Score: IVF=1, IUI=1).
3. The Invasiveness Factor. With IVF, you produce lots of eggs, which are then harvested in a pretty invasive procedure which requires anesthesia. With IUI, the dosage of the drug is modulated, so fewer eggs are produced, and there’s no harvest required. Another win for IUI (Score: IVF=1, IUI=2).
4. The Clumping. At our one and only IUI, when they processed my husband’s semen, they saw agglutination, or clumping. My RE worried that this would impede our chances of success with IUI, and we would have to directly move on to IVF. So she sent my husband back for another semen analysis, where they would process the sample as they would for IUI and see if the agglutination returned. His sperm didn’t clump, so we were cleared to go ahead with the IUI. (Score: IVF=1, IUI=3).
It’s IUI for the win!
My general fear of IVF also played into this decision. In my mind, IVF is our last resort, and if it fails, then we’ve reached the end of the line. I know that we’re getting closer and closer to that line, but I’m still trying to keep it at bay.