Couples are always confused about choosing between IUI and IVF. The success of either procedure depends on a lot of factors. Two of the most commonly used fertility treatment methods are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The main difference between an IUI and IVF treatments is: IVF is a process involving egg stimulation, retrieval, fertilization, and transfer; whereas, an IUI injects sperm into a uterus to decrease the sperm’s travel time to the egg. The best way to understand which is the better treatment for you—IUI vs. IVF is to have a consultation with a fertility specialist.
What are the Biggest Differences Between IUI and IVF?
IUI differs from IVF in that fertilization happens inside the body instead of outside. That is, the sperm is put right into the uterus of the woman. So, if the fertilization works, the baby will also grow there.
In IVF, fertilization happens outside of the uterus, in a lab. Fertilization happens when the sperm and egg come together. After this, one or more fertilized eggs are put in the woman’s uterus. If everything goes right, the fertilized egg would then develop and be implanted into the uterine lining, leading to pregnancy and the birth of a full-term baby or kids.
IVF is more likely to work than IUI. IVF is more expensive and a little more painful than artificial insemination. Most of the time, couples should try IUI three times before going on to IVF.
Similarities Between IUI and IVF
There are a few things that IVF and IUI have in common, and most of them have to do with getting ready for treatment and the basic ways that people get pregnant.
Before fertilization, both IUI and IVF use fertility drugs (ovulation medication) to improve the chances of fertilization or, in the case of IVF, to help the woman ovulate and make it easier to retrieve her eggs. Also, both methods include a semen analysis test to select the best sperm from the samples given so that it can be used for fertilization.
For both IVF and IUI to work, a fertilized egg must implant in the lining of the uterus and grow into a full-term baby or more than one baby.
The IUI Advantage
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) treatment is a helpful procedure that will enable a couple to conceive. Usually, the sperm has to travel a long distance to reach an egg and fertilize it. With IUI, the sperm from the male partner is collected, washed, and then the good motile sperms are carefully injected directly via a catheter into the uterus. This means the sperm has to travel a lesser distance, thus increasing the chances of conception.
The mouth of the uterus contains anti-sperm antibodies. During sexual intercourse, the sperms are deposited in the vagina. When it comes in contact with this anti-sperm antibody, they have a rotary motion rather than a forward propulsive motion. As a result, even though the semen analysis is normal the availability of sperms near the egg will be less.
IUI is also used as a first-line treatment for unknown infertility known as idiopathic infertility. For effective IUI, the woman should have at least one good fallopian tube; good egg quality and the male partner should have optimum semen parameters. In addition to helping couples with infertility challenges, IUI can be useful for couples who are having trouble conceiving for other reasons, such as their work or travel schedule, or sexual dysfunction.
The IVF Advantage
IUI can be a good starting point for couples facing issues involving ovulation or unexplained infertility. However, IUI may not be the most suitable fertility treatment for a couple. In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) though more expensive than IUI offers a far better chance at achieving pregnancy. IVF is a series of procedures used to help with fertility and assist with the conception of a baby. It is a process where egg cells are fertilized outside the body. Embryos that are created following IVF are transferred into the female partner’s womb to implant and develop or frozen for transfer in a later cycle.
IVF was introduced 30 years ago, since then millions of children have been born successfully, thanks to this unique use of science.
IVF is usually recommended for couples facing the following situations:
IVF can be performed with fresh as well as frozen embryos as the case demands with fair rate of success. If too many matured follicles develop during the IUI procedure, then the IUI cycle is canceled and may be converted to IVF.
The Cost Factor
As you might imagine based on the difference in procedures listed above, IVF vs. IUI has a very different price point. IUI is much cost-effective than IVF and is a viable solution for infertile couples. IUI is of course popular choice for its price advantage but at times a number of cycles would be required before a positive result is attained. However, at Prashanth Fertility Research Centre (PFRC), we have had many patients with extreme medical problems but who have been able to get pregnant.
Choice between IUI & IVF
The final choice between IUI and IVF is left to the discussion you will have with your doctor and based on your particular situation. If you choose IUI, generally 3 attempts will suffice to know whether it works for you after which it is advisable to re-assess the clinical situation. IUI can once again be tried after that. If IUI fails again, then it’s time to think of an advanced procedure and the first one is of course IVF.
It is advisable to take your doctor’s opinion based on the diagnosis of your fertility problem to choose the right procedure. Even though there are lots of factors that can affect the success rate, age is an important aspect that can have a significant impact on the result.
What if IUI and IVF don’t work?
Sometimes neither IUI nor IVF will work for you. In these cases, you might want to think about ICSI (intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) or using donor eggs or sperm for fertilization.
If you’re just starting out with treatments for infertility, it’s important to know that IUI and IVF may not work the first time. You might need more than one round of either medication or both of them to get pregnant.
Choose Prashanth Fertility Research Centre
PFRC Prashanth Fertility Research Centre (PFRC) is a leading Fertility Centre in India with ultra-modern facilities and State of the Art, equipment offering excellent facilities with the latest technologies for those who come for Infertility treatment.
We perform the latest techniques in Assisted Reproduction starting from Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Intra cytoplasmic injection of Morphologically Selected sperms (IMSI), Laser Assisted Hatching, Blastocyst culture, and Vitrification of oocytes and embryos. Ours is a Centre of Excellence housing time-lapse imaging technology. Embryoscope is available at only 200 centers worldwide and 3-D laparoscopy for the precision and accuracy of any surgical procedure. We also have a semen and oocyte bank to cater to the patient’s requirements along with several other associated therapies for Assisted Reproduction like acupuncture, immunotherapy, and stem cell therapy for improved success rates.
Avoid using Google as a way to get answers because these vary on an individual basis. Reach out to the best fertility specialists in Chennai at PFRC for assistance on your journey towards parenthood.