Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) vs In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

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When the natural mode of conception fails to yield positive results, couples are greatly turning to of the most commonly used fertility treatment methods like Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In vitro fertilization (IVF). Though the expected outcomes end up being similar both these treatments differ in terms of procedure protocols, medications, timing or eligibility criterion.

At times known as ‘artificial insemination’ the Intrauterine insemination IUI procedure is when processed and concentrated motile sperm are inserted directly into a woman’s uterus in time for the woman’s ovulation. The IUI procedure deposits higher concentrations of good quality sperm close to where the egg is waiting, and hence the chance that the egg and sperm will meet is quite high.

The In vitro fertilization (IVF) on the other hand involves stimulation of the ovaries to produce multiple eggs at a time, removal of the eggs from the ovary (egg retrieval), fertilization of the eggs in the laboratory, and subsequent placement of the resulting embryos into the uterus (embryo transfer).

The quantity of eggs generated by the female and the location of fertilisation is where the major difference lies between IUI and IVF. A woman is only meant to develop one or two eggs after an IUI though in IVF a woman is given more drugs in order to produce a large number of eggs. IVF requires anaesthesia for “surgery,” whereas IUI does not. The Intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure is non-surgical and can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Though less effective it is less invasive, and less expensive than IVF.

But the fertility specialists are the best to decide the right procedure for you as per your specific condition. IUI can be a great option for those dealing with PCOS, other anovulation, cervical mucus problems, or sperm health issues or even for single mothers by choice and those with unexplained infertility. In vitro fertilization (IVF) could be a good choice for patients with blocked, damaged, or absent fallopian tubes and for those with the most severe cases of male infertility and those with age-related infertility and unexplained infertility problems.

Both treatments will take about two weeks’ time. An IUI cycle begins with the first day of the period. IUI cycles may or may not use medications to prompt ovulation depending on the couple’s issues. An unmedicated cycle requires less monitoring, but may be less effective. In the case of an IVF process medications are taken for approximately 8–12 days, and the patient is simultaneously monitored to ensure the medication is working. But the IUI cycle might have the least medication side effects when compared to IVF. Though the side effects experienced are typically mild and will resolve after treatment ends in about 5 days.

A crucial difference between the two treatment methods is that in IVF the embryos used can be biopsied and tested to ensure general genetic health and to check for chromosomal abnormalities before the transfer is done. This is perhaps one of the top reasons why IVF has significantly higher success rates. IVF is a good option for people who wish to have control over the genetics of their children.

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