Getting pregnant is certainly not an easy journey. Luckily, IUI vs IVF options are available for those struggling to get conceive naturally, as well as donor sperm, which may be suitable for those in a same-sex marriage or people who want to become single parents by choice. The advancement of technology has made it possible for almost anyone to bear children, with the two main types of artificial fertility treatments including IUI and IVF Let’s deep dive into which option may be best for you.

Meet the Expert: Dr. Diana Rangaves writes for 21Ninety’s as a health and wellness expert. She is a pharmacist, philanthropist, and ethics professor turned writer, holding a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of California. She also serves as the Executive Editor and Chief Content Officer for Healthcare Worldwide Central and has published several works in medical and pharmaceutical publications, academic books, as well as, scholarly articles.

What Is IUI?

IUI stands for intrauterine insemination and is commonly referred to as artificial insemination. This type of artificial fertility treatment is when the sperm collected from a partner or a donor is placed into the uterus cavity. Once the sperm is collected, the seminal fluids are removed, leaving a concentrated sperm. IUI treatment is done during ovulation, which can be tested using an ovulation test kit to know the best time for the procedure.

In some cases, the woman is given some fertility medication to stimulate the production of the egg by the ovaries. Placing the sperms in the uterine cavity aims to increase the number of sperms meeting the egg. It increases the chances of fertilization, as the sperm also have a short trip to the fallopian tubes. The procedure can be an outpatient visit, where you can go home afterward, as it takes around five to ten minutes.

Pros And Cons Of IUI

Some of the pros of IUI are that it is a less invasive procedure and takes less time in comparison to an IVF. It is also less expensive and has a higher chance of success in comparison to regular sexual intercourse. It is a five- to ten-minute procedure that requires fewer visits to the hospital in comparison to IVF.

Some of the cons of this procedure are it requires a fallopian tube that is clear, at least one in this case, ovulation must take place, and the sperms are motile. If one of these is not correct, the success rate reduces. The success rate also depends on a few factors, such as age and the cause of infertility. It also poses a risk of multiple pregnancies and some possible side effects from taking fertility medication.

What Is IVF?

IVF stands for In vitro fertilization. It is a multi-step procedure that combines the woman’s egg outside the body in a lab. The first step in this procedure is to ensure that the woman takes fertility medication, which will stimulate the ovaries. The egg produced is then retrieved through a procedure requiring patient sedation. The eggs are then taken to the lab to combine with the partner’s or the donor’s sperm. After monitoring of the embryo, it is then transferred into the uterus of the woman or frozen.

Pros And Cons Of IVF

IVF has a very high success rate because of its decreased risk of miscarriages. It is also effective in cases where the woman has blocked fallopian tubes, and the man has infertility cases, such as a low sperm count. It decreases the chances of multiple pregnancies and allows for genetic testing for disorders. When you have more fertilized embryos, you can choose to freeze them for the future, and it also gives a chance to the LGBTQ community to build a family through egg donors and sperm donors.

One of the cons of this procedure is the cost, which is higher than an IUI. It is also more invasive and time-consuming with the fact that you need sedation during this procedure. Before embarking on the IVF journey, you need to prepare yourself mentally because the procedure is both emotionally and physically demanding. Just like the IUI, you may experience some side effects which are caused by the fertility medication.

Which Is Best For You? IVF Or IUI?

You and your partner may need help deciding on the best procedure, especially if you have had several failed attempts at conceiving naturally. The first step is contacting a doctor for a discussion and assessment. The procedure for you depends on your specific issue and age. This is because, as you advance in maternal age, the quality and the number of eggs in your body gradually decrease. It also depends on the status of your fallopian tube; are they blocked, or are they functioning normally? Your partner may also be checked for conditions such as low sperm count, malformed sperm, and absence of sperm in their semen.

A doctor may also decide to start you on the IUI and may move to IVF after three to four unsuccessful rounds of IUI. Therefore, before you choose any of the two procedures, it would be helpful to have an extensive consultation and commitment to the process to succeed.