IVF vs. IUI: What is the Difference?

Getting pregnant isn’t always as simple as it seems. For many couples, conceiving necessitates extra effort and medical assistance.

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are two options.

IUI and IVF are two types of artificial fertility treatments that can assist you in conceiving when nature isn’t cooperating.

Sperm is injected directly into your uterus during IUI. IVF is a multi-step reproductive technology that includes the following procedures:

● Egg stimulation
● Retrieval
● Lab fertilization and transfer

Infertility specialist Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, who has among the best IVF centers from Mumbai, discusses each of these treatments, including what they entail, who they’re appropriate for, and how to decide where to begin.

What is the difference between IUI and IVF?

Your fertility specialist might recommend IUI or IVF if you’re having trouble conceiving naturally.

These methods can also be used if you’re trying to conceive using donor sperm, such as in a same-sex couple, or if you want to be a single parent by choice.

Dr. Hrishikesh Pai explains the differences between the two processes.

What is IUI?

Sperm is implanted directly into your uterus during intrauterine insemination. This shortens the distance sperm must travel and increases the likelihood of reaching your eggs.

IUI involves washing a sperm sample to separate sperm from seminal fluid and then injecting the entire sperm sample directly into the uterus.

Compared to traditional intercourse, this significantly increases the number of sperm in the uterus.

This quick procedure is performed the day after an ovulation surge and takes five to ten minutes.

A speculum will be used to locate your cervix, and a thin catheter (tube) will be inserted into your uterus to inject the sperm sample.

Ovulation induction, in which you take medication to stimulate the development and release of eggs, is sometimes combined with IUI.

Some people may be more likely to conceive as a result of this.

What is IVF?

IVF stands for in vitro fertilisation. There are a few more steps to in-vitro fertilization. Because you produce fewer follicles, you receive a high dose of injectable hormones during IVF to increase the number of follicles produced. Typically, your ovaries should produce at least 10-15 follicles each month.

Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, an expert infertility specialist, explains, “The goal is to produce 10 to 15 follicles that contain eggs.”

Some people earn more, while others make less, depending on:

● Age
● Medical history
● Factors like an ovarian reserve

After those eggs have matured, a doctor retrieves them through your vaginal canal during oocyte retrieval, a 10-minute outpatient surgical procedure.

The eggs are then combined with partner or donor sperm in a lab, and the embryos that result are either transferred into your uterus or frozen for later use.

Which one is the best fit for you?

Your doctor will begin by looking for infertility causes such as (but not restricted to):

● Abnormal sperm
● Irregular ovulation
● Endometriosis
● Blocked fallopian tubes

To make recommendations tailored to your needs, they’ll evaluate your:

● Age
● Family health history
● Personal health history
● Known health conditions

“This is an individualized procedure in which the patient’s voice and desires, in combination with our recommendations, play a huge role in how we proceed,” says Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, a leading infertility specialist.

When to do IUI first

If you have unexplained infertility (meaning you can’t find a cause) or your partner has mild male-factor infertility, your doctor will likely recommend IUI.

IUI is less expensive and less invasive than IVF, so it is frequently recommended as the first step.

When to start IVF

After three or four unsuccessful rounds of IUI, your doctor will most likely recommend IVF.

And in some cases, your doctor may recommend skipping IUI and heading straight to IVF if you (or your partner) have a condition like:

● Severe male-factor infertility.
● Blocked fallopian tubes that can’t be corrected with surgery.
● Multiple miscarriages.
● Endometriosis.

Counseling toward IUI first versus straight to IVF is influenced by age and desire for family size.

IUI or IVF: which is more successful?

Remember that undergoing infertility treatments does not guarantee the birth of a child. It does, however, improve your chances of becoming pregnant.

While IVF has a higher success rate than IUI, it’s not relatively that straightforward.

Because the specifics of your body determine your success rate, relying on raw data and percentages isn’t always helpful.

What if IUI and IVF aren’t successful?

Sometimes neither IUI nor IVF will work. In this case, donor egg IVF may be a viable option (sometimes referred to as DE IVF in infertility support communities).

Many patients will turn to donor egg IVF if IVF fails and another attempt is not recommended.

When a donor undergoes IVF on behalf of a patient, this is known as surrogacy. The donor’s eggs are collected and donated to the patient, using a partner or donor sperm to create embryos.

The embryos are implanted into the patient’s uterus to carry the pregnancy to term.

If you’re starting your infertility treatments, consider that IUI and IVF may not work the first time.

According to Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, a leading infertility specialist, to become pregnant, you may need multiple rounds of either or both treatments.

Be aware that achieving a successful pregnancy can be a lengthy process that can take months or even years.

You’re not alone if you’re dealing with the stress and sadness of infertility.

Consult your doctor about finding a therapist or joining a support group to help you cope during the process and afterward.