IVF vs. IUI: Everything You Need to Know

Parenthood is one confusing stage in a person’s life. One moment you see couples conversing with their toddler’s babbling as if it makes perfect sense to them. The next moment you see them play heads or tails as to who’s turn it is to change diapers.

While it is apparent that this odd phenomenon leaves a lot of questions to be answered, a lot of people still want to become parents.

As exhausting as it looks, and it usually is, pregnancy is still the most enduring yet rewarding experience that a woman can have. To be the person responsible for giving life to another human being – no amount of pain can take away the feeling of finally calling yourself a mother.

Your journey towards parenthood is bound to have a few setbacks. While most of these setbacks are often small and minor bumps that push you off the track for a bit, sometimes, they can be life-changing enough to leave you devastated.

That said, there is nothing more heartbreaking than finding out that your dreams of starting or growing your family may have to come to an end. However, throwing away those dreams too soon may not be the best idea when there are many fertility treatment options available.

An Introduction to IVF and IUI

There are two fertility treatment options often recommended by physicians. IVF and IUI usually stand out and come as the frontline treatments for infertility. While both can help you become a step closer towards parenthood, you need to know which option suits you best as these treatments are drastically different from each other.

Here are the important facts you need to know:

IVF vs. IUI

IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is a fertilization process where eggs are extracted and manually combined with the sperm in a laboratory dish. The zygote, or the fertilized egg, then undergoes the embryo culture – a process that allows the fertilized egg to grow for some time, usually for 2-6 days.

Once successful, the egg is then implanted into the woman’s uterus – allowing it to grow and mature for the rest of the gestation period.

The children produced via IVF are sometimes called “test-tube babies” as they underwent fertilization outside the mother’s uterus.

On the other hand, IUI, or Intrauterine Semination, involves the insemination of the woman’s uterus by injecting a washed sperm into the uterine cavity using a catheter.

IUI, on the other hand, is more commonly referred to as “Artificial Insemination” as the sperm is manually placed inside the uterus to better reach the fallopian tubes.

Cost

IUI is significantly more affordable than IVF – making it the first choice between the two procedures. Many couples try IUI first as it’s cheaper. If conception fails, they then move on to IVF.

Each cycle of IUI costs about $200-$1000 or more, depending on other factors such as insurance, location, and chosen clinics.

IVF is a more expensive option that can cost up to $15,000.

Candidates

Because IUI is a procedure that involves the injection of the sperm into the uterus, couples with the male partner exhibiting infertility problems are usually good candidates for it. Men with low sperm count, sperm mobility problems, premature ejaculation, or impotence can opt to have their sperm artificially inseminated instead.

Women who suffer from ovulation problems can also benefit from the IUI procedure, as well as single women who wish to conceive via a sperm donor. IUI is also a great option if the use of fertility drugs were unsuccessful.

If fertility drugs and IUI fail, physicians often recommend IVF. Women with fallopian tube problems such as damage, scarring, or blockage are good candidates for IVF. Those with fertility problems like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis can also benefit from it.

IVF is a good option for people who wish to have control over the genetics of their children. Preimplantation Genetic Screening or PGS allows the screening of the embryos to check for chromosomal abnormalities, which helps ensure that the implanted embryo is a healthy one.

Risks

Though the practice of both procedures is common in Western medicine, there are still potential risks that the patient should be aware of.

The fertility medications usually paired with IUI to increase the chances of conception may cause the risk of multiple pregnancies. Infection is another risk for patients who undergo an IUI procedure.

IVF, on the other hand, tends to increase the chances of multiple births as multiple embryos are sometimes implanted into the uterus. Multiple pregnancies carry a high risk of early labor, premature delivery, and low birth weight. Miscarriages and birth defects are also slightly increased with IVF.

More and more experts and researchers are trying to find innovations in technology and medicine every day. These experts have developed countless ways to make sure that anyone who wishes to become parents is given that opportunity, regardless of their situations.

Both IUI and IVF treatments can give couples or even single people who want to have a child, a chance to call themselves parents. While the success rate is high for both procedures, knowing the risks that go with these options are very important and should be discussed with your physician.

Guest post by Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health

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