For a couple who has just got to know about infertility or the reason behind their unsuccessful attempts of conception, the array of fertility treatment options available can be overwhelming. For once even you might have researched these topics out of curiosity, academics, knowledge or requirements. Doesn't every piece of information you go through results in one more question? Won't an individual go pragmatic while deciding which treatment is right? There's not only one solution for all types of infertility, but the treatment for different types of infertility is also different, but starting points are all the same. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are two of the most common infertility treatments. Understanding what they are, who they are intended for, and what the success rates are for these two options will give you a place to begin your conversations with your fertility expert. Here’s what you need to know.

What is IUI?

The semen of the partner is collected and processed in the laboratory. Semen is obtained from masturbation and then it is passed through the 'Sperm washing' procedure, where sperm is retrieved from semen. Now sperm is ready to be placed. The placing of sperm higher into the uterine cavity bypasses the cervix and makes the passage to the fallopian tubes much shorter. The goal is to advance the possibility that more sperm will meet the egg.

IUI may be conducted while a woman's natural ovulation is in progress, it can be timed with over the counter ovulation predictor kits (OPK) or with fertility medication taken by the woman to assist in ovulation.

IUI Pros and Cons

  • It’s a far less invasive process than IVF and may require little (if any) medication. It takes only a few minutes and there is a very little discomfort.
  • The chances of getting pregnant with IUI are, unfortunately, fairly low – success rates can reach as high as 20%, but only when factoring age, diagnosis and whether fertility drugs were used.
  • The risk of multiples is much higher. Because there is little control over how many eggs develop, it’s difficult to guarantee how many will ultimately fertilize.

IUI can be a good starting point for couples facing issues involving ovulation or unexplained infertility. However, IUI may not be the most suitable fertility treatment for a couple.

What is IVF?

IVF is one of the more widely known types of ART (assisted reproductive technology). A combination of medicines and surgical procedures of retrieving eggs and sperm from couple or donor than incubating them, at last placing them back in the uterus of the couple or a carrier. 

First, female takes medication that advances several eggs to mature and ready for fertilization. The body retrieves those eggs and mixes them with sperm in a lab, to help the sperm fertilize the eggs. Then they put one or more fertilized eggs (embryos) directly into the uterus. Pregnancy happens when any of the embryos implants in the lining of your uterus.

Pros and cons of IVF:

  • IVF works where other infertility treatments fail.
  • It can be used by anybody.
  • IVF has proved very successful in patients with PCOS, who will not conceive with ovulation induction.
  • Fallopian tube damage or blockage
  • Multiple Pregnancy.
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Severe male infertility

IVF is usually suggested for couples facing the following situations:

  • Blocked Fallopian tubes
  • Lack of success using IUI
  • Concern about passing on certain genetic disorders

Pre-implantation genetic testing, where embryos or oocyte are checked for any genetic disease before implantation of embryos or collection of eggs. This an advanced scientific procedure that can be performed before IVF. It is helpful for patients who have anxieties about a genetic condition, or who have had multiple unsuccessful IUI cycles or miscarriages. This procedure can be used to identify genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities in embryos and can help identify the best embryo to transfer.

IUI vs IVF Cost

One of the concerns about fertility treatments many couples have is the cost of both IUI and IFV. Generally, these procedures are not covered under insurance plans. IUI can be much cheaper than IVF. The average cost of IVF is around 1.25 Lakh per cycle.

IUI and IVF Success Rates

The success of both procedures can depend on the age of the woman, the cause of infertility, and other factors. The average success rate for IUI using a fertility medicine is 8-15% per cycle for patients who are under the age of 35. That number drops to only 2-5% for patients who are over the age of 40. For IVF, the numbers are much higher. The success rate ranges from 40-45% for patients who are under 35 and it drops to 15% for patients who are over 42.

How do You Know Which Treatment is Best For You?

It can only be answered by a fertility doctor after studying your unique medical history and fertility situation. It is important to note that every couple’s fertility situation is different. Infertility is not an uncommon issue and regardless of age, couples are advised to seek help sooner than later. Starting early and getting the right advice and guidance will put you back in control and on the path to achieving your dream of having a baby.

Infertility can be a very heartbreaking thing, especially if you’ve wanted kids for a long time. Don’t lose hope! There’s still a way you can conceive and bring home your bundle of joy and happiness.