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Difference Between IVF and IUI

IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) and IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination) are the two most common fertility treatments offered. Owing to their high success rates and an impressive ratio of live births, both these are fairly popular ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) methods
IVF and IUI are entirely different techniques and we will try to explain how each is different from the other.

How is IUI different from IVF?

Intrauterine Insemination or IUI is a simple process where semen is processed and potent sperms with a high motility rate are injected directly into the womb of the female partner at the time of ovulation. This is like a short cut to sperm’s journey. I’ll explain how. After sexual intercourse, they are deposited in the vagina and swim forwards into the womb. In IUI, they are directly placed in the womb. Steps before IUI include
1. Tablets and couple of injections to stimulate ovaries
2. 3-4 tracking scans
3. Trigger injection
4. IUI
5. Pregnancy test after two weeks +
In-Vitro Fertilization has little more than IUI. In the procedure active and healthy sperm are injected into the egg. So how do we make these eggs? Some steps are similar to IUI.
6. 8-10 days of daily injections to stimulate ovaries
7. 3-4 tracking scans
8. Trigger injection
9. Egg Collection
10. Fertilisation in the lab
11. Embryo transfer
12. Freezing of any remaining embryos
13. Pregnancy test after two weeks +

Where does the fertilisation take place in IUI and IVF?

In IUI, fertilisation takes place inside the uterus, in the fallopian tube.
In IVF, fertilisation takes place in a dish in a controlled environment inside a laboratory (InVitro). Babies born through IVF are thus called test-tube babies.

What about rest after IUI and IVF?

IUI is a very small painless procedure, done in the clinic whilst the woman is awake. The patient can go back soon after procedure and resume everyday activities.
IVF – Egg Collection is done under sedation, sent home after few hours and advised to be rested that day. Embryo Transfer is similar to IUI. It is a small painless procedure, done in the theatre whilst the woman is awake. The patient can go back soon after procedure and resume everyday activities.

Can we do genetic testing in both IUI and IVF?

It is possible to a perform genetic testing PGT-A on the embryos achieved through IVF. However, not so in the case of IUI as the embryos are made inside the body.

Is IUI more successful than IVF?

The success rate of both these fertility treatments varies on a large number of factors such as age, cause of infertility, ovarian reserve, sperm count and health, etc. It also depends upon the IVF lab standards, fertility expert’s experience and expertise in treating the fertility issues. Women under 35 years of age have a success rate of 10 to 15% with IUI. This success rate rises to a whopping 45 to 50% for an IVF cycle. Couples who opt for genetic screening of the
embryos before transfer have a success ratio of 65 to 70% . The success ratio tends to decrease with the increasing age of the female partner.

Is IUI cheaper than IVF?

The vital factors of time and money have been a topic of debate since time immemorial. Quickest and simplest is IUI. Therefore is at least 5 times cheaper than IVF. Robust, complex IVF is expensive and so are the success rates.

Can all IUI patients have IVF and vice versa?

IUI is offered to couples with normal sperm, IVF is offered to men with impaired sperm quality. So let me put it this way. All couples can be offered IUI and IVF. Only those with normal sperm are offered IUI.

Conclusion

After thoroughly comparing IUI and IVF procedures based on all the factors such as feasibility, success rate, time and cost implications, two factors must be well remembered. One – Your doctors knows which treatment is best for you. Two, if both options can be offered, you know the best about your own pocket.

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