Pregnancy is a transformative experience for couples. However, numerous couples face difficulties conceiving naturally. In these situations, medical intervention is required. Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) has become a popular choice for couples dealing with infertility to have a baby. In this article, we’ll discuss more about assisted reproductive technologies such as IUI and IVF. What is IUI?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) refers to the technique of directly introducing sperm into the uterus. As part of this procedure, semen is carefully collected and processed in a lab to eliminate seminal fluid and retrieve quality sperm. These selected sperm are then introduced into the uterine cavity to reduce their journey distance towards fertilizing an egg that has been released from the ovaries. IUI is conducted at a time when a woman naturally ovulates, presenting itself as a less invasive and costly alternative compared to other fertility treatments available. The process of Intrauterine Insemination is quick, easy, and typically pain-free, lasting under 15 minutes. Mild cramping may be experienced by certain women during the procedure, followed by spotting lasting one to two days.
What is IVF?
IVF is a much more complicated procedure than IUI. During IVF, a male partner’s sperm and a female partner’s egg are fertilized in a laboratory setting, rather than in the female reproductive tract. Women are given fertility medications to stimulate their ovaries before the egg’s fertilization. Egg retrieval is done with sedation, and insemination is performed the same day. After fertilization, the embryo is carefully monitored to determine when it’s best to be transferred to the uterus. The ovaries produce only one follicle each month, but during IVF, high hormone doses stimulate the ovaries to produce more follicles. A doctor collects the eggs through the vagina in a short outpatient procedure called oocyte retrieval. The eggs are taken to a lab where they are fertilized with either partner or donor sperm. The embryos from egg retrieval can be transferred into the uterus or frozen for later use.
One major difference between IUI and IVF is that, in the case of IUI, the process of fertilization occurs internally within the body. That is, the sperm is injected directly into the woman’s uterus. The embryo implants there if fertilization is successful.
In IVF, fertilization occurs externally in a lab, rather than in the uterus. The sperm and the egg are combined for fertilization and after this process, one or more of these successfully fertilized eggs are placed in the uterus. In an ideal situation, the fertilized egg would implant in the uterus lining, resulting in pregnancy and the birth of a full-term baby or babies. The success rates of IVF are generally higher than those of IUI. Artificial insemination is a cheaper and less invasive alternative to IVF. Typically, couples should attempt three rounds of IUI before considering IVF.
There are similarities between IVF and IUI in terms of treatment preparation and the basic processes of conception. To enhance success rates, both IUI and IVF may involve the use of fertility medications before insemination or fertilization. Additionally, both treatments involve methods to extract the best sperm for fertilization. For IVF and IUI to be successful, fertilization of an egg and its implantation in the uterine lining is necessary for the development of a full-term infant or multiple infants.
The most common fertility treatment is IUI. Additionally, it is less invasive, and fertilization occurs internally, not in a lab, making it a popular choice as the first treatment. For artificial insemination to occur, it is necessary to have working ovaries, viable eggs, fallopian tubes, and 5–10 motile sperm available after processing the male partner's ejaculate.
If you or your partner cannot fulfill the IUI requirements, IVF could be an option. IVF is used for a wide range of infertility cases, including uterus problems, tubal issues, endometriosis, age factors, low sperm count or motility, unexplained infertility, etc. IVF is a good option for those interested in using donor eggs or a surrogate.
Couples can benefit from IUI in the following situations:
When couples have been unsuccessful in conceiving for a year and have one or more fertility problems, in vitro fertilization is often suggested.
It is important to note that getting pregnant on your first IUI/IVF attempt may not be possible. It may take several rounds of one or both of these treatments for pregnancy to take place. One of the most important steps to take during your infertility treatment is to consult a qualified infertility specialist. They will be able to assess your fertility situation and suggest the best treatment plan for you. We are one of the leading infertility clinics in Dubai, offering the best treatment options to couples who are trying to conceive. We carefully examine both male and female partner’s conditions to determine the underlying infertility issues. Schedule a consultation with us so that we can advise you on the best course of treatment to address your infertility and turn your dream of becoming a parent into a reality.