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Health A to Z

What Is The Difference Between IVF and IUI?

Dr. Rakshita Bhutale

If it has been over a year & you still cannot conceive then fertility treatments can offer hope.

If you are trying to conceive for a year and are unsuccessful then fertility treatments may help in increasing the chances of getting pregnant. Thanks to technology, a lot of people can now have babies despite their infertility problems.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) are procedures that can help you have a child. ART procedures aid in making the process of sperm fertilizing the egg easier. The two most common fertility treatments used by couples are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Let’s have a look at these two popular procedures.

What is intrauterine insemination (IUI)?

Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment wherein sperm is positioned inside the uterus to facilitate fertilization. In this process, the ovaries are stimulated using external hormones to increase the number of eggs. Then, using a catheter, semen sample is transferred into the uterus of the mother a phase wherein the egg is released from the woman’s ovaries. In IUI, high amounts of good quality sperm are deposited close to the egg so that there are high chances of sperm and egg union.

Who can opt for IUI?

  • If the woman has mild endometriosis
  • If the man has a low sperm count- sub optimal male infertility
  • Cervix related problems in the female
  • Ovulation disorder in the female- PCOS
  • If you are using a donor sperm in case of single mother or lesbian couple
  • Unexplained infertility
Pros Cons
Less invasive Success rates are low as 15-17%
Experience little discomfort Risk of having more than one child
Takes less time Ectopic pregnancy

What is in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

IVF involves extracting eggs from the ovaries and fertilizing it with a sperm in the lab, where it later develops into an embryo. The developed embryo is then transferred into the mother’s uterus. In this technique, the ovaries are stimulated using external hormones to produce many eggs in one cycle and then eggs are retrieved from each ovary. The fertilization takes place in a sterile laboratory and the resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus.

Who can opt for IVF?

  • If the woman has moderate to severe endometriosis
  • If the man has sperm problems
  • Cervix related problems in the female
  • Ovulation disorder in the female for example PCOS
  • If you are using a donor sperm/eggs/surrogacy
  • Block tubes in males or females
  • Single mother or lesbian couple
Pros Cons
Success rates are high- almost 40-60% Can be expensive
You can use donor sperms or eggs if indicated Prolonged use of medications & hormones may cause side effects
Can cryopreserve the sperms or eggs for longer time  Risk of having more than one child
Increases chances of a healthy baby  Risk of ectopic pregnancy

Tips that may increase your chances of pregnancy

The takeaway

Although fertility treatments can bring hope to couples who want a baby, it also has monetary, physical and emotional costs. If it has been over a year and you still cannot conceive, the couple needs to work out on the causes. Sometimes, the problem lies with the female, sometimes with the male, sometimes in both and many times the clear cause is unknown. Thus, it is recommended that you consult with an expert who will help you through your conception challenges.

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