IVF VS IUI: What is the difference between the two and their success rates

In an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla, Dr. Rajalaxmi Walavalkar, Medical Director, IVF Specialist & Senior Gynecologist at Cocoon Fertility revealed first the difference between IVF and IUI.
 IVF VS IUI: What is the difference between the two and their success ratesIVF VS IUI: What is the difference between the two and their success rates
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Thanks to science and technology, many who are unable to conceive naturally or have fertility issues can now easily get pregnant with the help of ART aka Assisted Reproductive Technology. There are several fertility treatment options, however, today we are talking about two popular ART techniques such as IVF and IUI. IVF stands for In vitro fertilization while IUI's full form is Intrauterine Insemination. In an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla, Dr. Rajalaxmi Walavalkar, Medical Director, IVF Specialist &  Senior Gynecologist at Cocoon Fertility revealed first the difference between the two.

She said, "While these treatments are most of the times stated together, one must note that there are many substantial differences. IUI is a fertility procedure in which prepared sperm is inserted directly into the uterus around the time she will ovulate, the ovulation is controlled with the help of injections. IUI has the capability of being performed in synchronization with a female’s natural cycle or can be programmed with fertility medications to motivate ovulation."

She added, "As opposed to IUI in the IVF process injections/ medications are used to grow multiple follicles in the ovary. These are emptied during the process of egg retrieval which is a day process under a mild anesthetic, the eggs thus collected are mixed with the sperm in the IVF lab to create embryos. And these embryos are directly inserted back into the mother’s uterus in another procedure called embryo transfer."

Speaking on the success rates of these techniques, she revealed, "It varies in spite of standardizing the care in IUI and IVF due to the existence of a number of variables that would impact the outcome in an individual case. IUI tends to have lower success rates as compared to IVF and the gap widens as women tend to age. For women, less than 35 per attempted IUI would have a success rate for 7 to 8 percent as opposed to that per attempted IVF in the same group has a success rate of about 40 %. As the woman ages, the success rate of both the treatments fall."

She stated, "IUI is a shorter process as compared to an IVF, which means in case your first cycle is successful, it could prove to be the fastest route to getting pregnant. However, owing to the gap in the rate of success between the 2 treatments, some patients who are in their 30s to 40s may conceive faster by directly opting for IVF rather than waiting till they have had numerous failed IUI cycles. Hence, IVF treatments certainly tend to have an upper hand when compared with IUI treatments."

Speaking of the costs, the IUI cycle costs lesser than an IVF cycle. Depending on your diagnosis, the doctor will, however, recommend you to either do IUI or IVF as directly proceeding to IVF is better than dealing with failures with IUI. People who had at least one unblocked fallopian tube or who can ovulate with the help of medicines, or has a healthy amount of eggs or has a normal uterine cavity can go for IUI. Women who also have cervical issues, same-sex couples and male factor infertility can also opt for IUI.
Coming to who can go directly to IVF, if you are over 38, have blocked fallopian tubes, wants to use donor eggs and have severe male-factor infertility among others can go for this treatment.

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