Is in vitro fertilisation more effective than stimulated intrauterine insemination as a first-line therapy for subfertility? A cohort analysis

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Journal Article
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2010, 50 (3), pp. 280 - 288
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Objective: To compare a strategy of two cycles of intrauterine insemination with controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (IUI/COH) vs one in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment programme (one fresh plus associated frozen embryo cycles) in couples presenting with unexplained, mild male or mild female subfertility. Methods: A retrospective cohort design was used and analysed according to intention-to-treat principles. A total of 272 couples underwent an intended course of two cycles of IUI/COH and 176 couples underwent one IVF treatment programme. Results: The cumulative live birth rate (CLBR) per couple for the IUI/COH group was 27.6% compared to 39.2% for the IVF group (P = 0.01). The mean time to pregnancy was 69 days in the IUI/COH group compared to 44 days in the IVF group (P = 0.02). The IVF programme was costlier, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for an additional live birth in the range of $39 637-$46 325. The multiple delivery rate was 13.3% in the IUI/COH group compared to 10.1% in the IVF group (P = 0.55). One set of triplets and one set of quadruplets followed IUI/COH treatment. Conclusions: One IVF treatment programme was more effective, but costlier than an intended course of two cycles of IUI/COH. With consistently higher success rates, shorter times to pregnancy and a trend to less higher order multiple pregnancies, this study supports the view that IVF is now potentially safer and more clinically effective than IUI/COH as a first-line therapy for subfertility. © 2010 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
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