The average success rate of each cycle of artificial insemination is about 18%. On the other hand, the accumulated likelihood of pregnancy after four cycles is around 65%. This does not mean that the chance in the fourth cycle is 65%, but that after four tries, the number which is normally carried out, 65% of patients has achieved pregnancy in any of the four.
Artificial insemination is a highly secure technique. Any side effects are an exception. At most you may feel bloated due to successful ovarian stimulation. It is highly exceptional for artificial insemination to produce any kind of pain. The worst side effect of artificial insemination is a multiple pregnancy, which occurs in about 7% of the cycles. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome cannot occur because any greater response than three follicles will be cancelled to avoid increasing the risk of a multiple pregnancy.
Artificial insemination does not normally hurt. This usually does not cause much more discomfort than any gynaecological exploration for a cytology.
To make a decision, each case should of course be studied individually. If chances for artificial insemination are good however, the accumulated likelihood of pregnancy after four cycles is greater than those of an IVF cycle (which does not have a 100% chance at the first try). But apart from that, the inconveniences for the patient are much less with artificial insemination. And even though this is a matter that most doctors prefer to avoid, if we talk about prices, even if four cycles of artificial insemination were needed, the price would still be lower than for a single cycle of IVF.