What is the difference between IVF and IUI?

IUI and IVF are two of the widely followed treatment methods for fertility. Mostly famous in the US, these treatment methods are today hope for couples who go through infertility problems. Infertility can happen because of many reasons, but the most obvious and probable one is the sperm not reaching the egg. 

How do these treatments help in the fertilization of eggs?

IUI or Intrauterine Insemination is the method by which the sperm of the male partner is placed inside the woman’s uterus, making sure that the sperm is closer to the eggs or it can reach the fallopian tube easier and faster. This process is also called donor insemination, alternative insemination, or artificial insemination. 

It is performed when the woman is ovulating, the time of which can be determined using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK) or by the woman following a medication, thus assisting or stimulating ovulation. 

The semen is collected from the male donor and prepared for insemination through a process called “sperm washing” to obtain a concentrated amount of healthy sperms. This also prevents any infections in the uterus and also reduces the chance of cramps. 

IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is the method in which the male partner’s sperm and the woman’s eggs are combined outside, like in a laboratory dish. 

It is an assisted reproductive technology (ART). “Test Tube babies” are also children conceived by the method of IVF. The process starts with the female in medication that will trigger the production of a considerable number of eggs ready to get fertilized. 

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On the day, the female is sedated. The eggs are then retrieved or vacuumed from the ovary using ultrasound-guided needles that will extract these eggs. The same day, the male sperm is also obtained. 

The sperm and the egg are put in a dish, petri dish favorably, facilitating fertilization. The growth of the embryos is speculated for a few days in the lab, and then one or two embryos are transferred to the mother’s uterus. 

Although both these techniques work towards the same goal, some factors determine which treatment to follow for a couple or a woman in some exceptional situations. Some factors to be considered include the financial status of the couple, the biological or physical problems and inhibitions of the mother or father, and how mentally prepared they are for the treatment. 

Comparing IUI and IVF, IVF is a more expensive treatment than IUI. The fee for one cycle of IVF will include expenses for medicines, procedures, anesthesia, blood tests, embryo storage, and so on. In the U.S, the average fee is 11,000 dollars to 12,000 dollars, and that of IUI is around 1,000 dollars to 2,000 dollars. 

Yet couples approach the IVF method because of its higher efficiency. IUI is less effective as the whole fertilization process takes place inside the womb, and no way of direct speculation or interference will ensure the sperm fusing with the egg. If the treatment failed at the first go, the couple would probably have to go through several IUI procedures. By then, the expenses of all cycles of IUI will be greater than that of IVF. 

IUI is favorable for women having ovulation problems. It is also favorable if there are minor abnormalities regarding sperm like concentration, motility, or shape. 

When the male has difficulty in ejaculating or male partner has frozen sperm because of diseases like testicular cancer, or if a donor’s sperm is used for pregnancy, IUI is an ideal choice. IUI is also performed without fertility drugs.

IVF is preferred if the female has blocked fallopian tube or if she suffers from a lack of ovulation. This also benefits if there is an extremely low count of male sperm or low motility. If the male has undergone a vasectomy, then the sterilization can result in infertility, and this method comes to help. 

This treatment also benefits where the female has diminished egg supply or poor egg vitality. If someone is willing to donate eggs also, this procedure is carried out. If three cycles of IUI is failed, it is often recommended for couples to take IVF treatment. 

It is not like these have side effects. When it comes to IVF, there can be risks of bloating, cramping, headaches, bruising from shots, infection, bleeding, etc. It can cause emotional imbalance too. 

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