Intrauterine Insemination or IVF: What Should You Opt for?

September 22, 2022

Intrauterine Insemination or IVF: What Should You Opt for?

With assisted reproductive technology (ART), infertility in couples is treated. The significance of ART as an important fertility treatment involves handling a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg. There are two treatment options in assisted conception: intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

IUI and IVF – Two Common Treatment Procedures

The couples who have problems in conceiving wonder if they should choose IUI or IVF. If you want to choose between these treatments, you should know which is better. Therefore, what are IUI and IVF treatments?

Intrauterine insemination is a simple invasive process of artificial insemination performed at a clinic. The procedure involves placing the prepared sperm cells using a long flexible tube called catheter into the uterus at the time of ovulation. When IUI is a simple process, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex procedure to help with pregnancy. Other than assisting with fertility, it obviates genetic problems. 

The IVF process starts with the retrieval of matured eggs from the ovaries and then, joining them with the sperm for fertilization in a specialized lab. Later, the embryos or fertilized eggs are placed into the uterus to help the patient conceive.

Also, Read: IUI Treatment Success Rate and Risks

Whether IUI or IVF – Some Facts

When It Comes to the Number of Eggs a Woman Produces, It Differs in Both These Treatments.

  • An IUI treatment enables a woman to develop a maximum of two eggs, while under the IVF procedure, a woman develops numerous eggs, ideally about 15, owing to medications. 
  • In IUI, the sperm is collected and prepared and then, injected into the uterus to enable the sperm to join the waiting egg for fertilization. The process calls for choosing healthy and active sperm that can travel a short distance through the fallopian tubes for fertilization to take place. In IVF, the matured eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilized in a lab using the sperm. After a few days, the embryos are transferred into the womb or uterus.
  • How do IUI and IVF beat infertility? With the IUI treatment, it beats infertility in two major ways: Egg quality and ovulation and sperm quality. Necessary medications are administered to develop and ovulate eggs (a maximum of two eggs). Several high-quality sperm are placed in the uterus to increase the chances of the sperm meeting the egg for fertilization. 

Also, Read: Why Couples Should Opt For IVF

In Contrast, IVF Helps Beat Infertility in Numerous Ways. They Are:

  • Eggs are developed and removed before ovulation
  • Once the eggs are fertilized in the lab, they are transferred directly into the uterus bypassing the fallopian tubes; thus, reducing any chances of tubal issues.
  • There is a need for only one healthy sperm if intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is performed in tandem with IVF.
  • The uterine receptivity can be optimized with some medications, as well as the time to transfer the embryo.
  • It is possible to have a large number of mature eggs with high dosages of medications.
  • IVF allows reproductive immunology testing and genetic testing to avoid any miscarriage.
  • IVF also enables sex selection for elective reasons.
  • When compared to safety, both fertility treatments are considered safe. However, it is essential to exercise proper medication and dosage, monitoring and general care to minimize the risks. IVF involves surgery and performed under anaesthesia, but IUI does not ask for any surgery.
  • IUI is a simple procedure and always tried before opting for the IVF procedure, which is more invasive than IUI. At the same time, IUI has several diagnoses contraindicative of it. Some instances of them are severe male factor infertility, blocked fallopian tubes and other male or female factors, in which case your doctor may recommend IVF.
  • IVF is known for its success rate owing to much faster time to pregnancy. With women under 35 years of age undergoing the IVF treatment, the success rate is around 50 percent.  In contrast, IUI shows about 13 percent success rate in women under 35 years old per cycle. However, the chances of higher success rates occur in the first 3 or 4 treatment cycles.   

Cost of IUI with IVF – a Comparison

The cost for IUI or IVF depends on several factors. In general, an IUI treatment costs less when compared to the IVF procedure. For IUI, it includes the monitoring, insemination and medication costs, while IVF includes charges for monitoring, egg retrieval, embryo transfer and medication. The expenses increase if there are additional cycles and medications in IUI. With IVF, the success rate is high and generally, there is no need for additional cycles, except in some cases such as abnormal sperm, egg abnormalities, embryo selection method, etc.

What Should You Opt for?

The infertility problems are different for couples and it is advisable to discuss with your doctor or fertility specialist about choosing the intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization procedure, and follow his or her recommendations.

Also, Read: What is the Success Rate of IVF Procedures in India

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