IVF or IUI: Which one is right for you?

There could be many reasons for a couple’s inability to conceive naturally. Some of them opt for treatments to help with infertility issues, but most of them are unaware of the options available to them.

According to Dr Rachita Munjal, consultant-IVF, Birla Fertility & IVF, Gurugram, the two most common methods to help a couple conceive are: in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI).

What is IVF?

The doctor explains that IVF is a delicate process where eggs are removed using a needle with a surgical procedure and then fertilized outside the body with the sperm, after which, the embryo is placed into the womb.

“IVF treatment has several steps and may sometimes take a couple of months to complete. It is recommended to couples who have had a genetic condition or a history of miscarriages or fallopian tube blockage, azoospermia, severe oligospermia, PCOS, endometriosis or unsuccessful IUI cycles. IUI is often the first step before IVF,” Dr Munjal explains.

What is IUI?

In IUI, “the sperm is washed, concentrated and directly transferred into the uterus to attempt fertilization. It is similar to the natural way of conceiving where the sperm travels from vagina through the cervix, in the uterus, and up to the fallopian tubes. IUI is coordinated with the normal ovulation cycle of women, or they are prescribed medications that help in egg formation and egg rupture to improve the chances of pregnancy”.

IUI is a relatively non-invasive and less-expensive treatment. It has fewer steps. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

IVF and IUI: What is the difference?

* IUI is a relatively non-invasive and less-expensive treatment. It has fewer steps.
* In IUI, fertilization takes place in the body whereas in IVF, fertilization is done in the lab.
* IVF has higher chances of pregnancy.
* Generally, IUI may be the only treatment needed. But fertility specialists may suggest IVF if IUI does not work.

Dr Munjal says the two treatments have some things in common. “Before fertilization, both IUI and IVF may include fertility drugs to increase success rates. Both the treatments include processes to isolate the highest quality sperm from the provided samples for use in the fertilization process.”

“For undergoing any treatment or procedure, it is recommended that a specialist is consulted. Every case, every patient and every situation is unique. We can never generalise. A doctor will help in determining the best course to achieve pregnancy,” the doctor concludes.

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