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IUI Versus IVF - Key Differences!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ritu Prabhakar 86% (23 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology
IVF Specialist, Sonipat  •  25 years experience
IUI Versus IVF - Key Differences!

Many couples find it difficult to conceive a child. There are many factors that could cause infertility. Infertility affects both men and women and in some cases, there is no clear reason for it. In such cases, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are the most common forms of treatment offered. Since their acronyms are usually used to describe them, many patients may be confused into thinking that the terms are synonymous. However, there is one major difference between the two processes. To understand this difference one must first understand the process of IVF and IUI.

IVF Procedure
This process is usually recommended for couples who have had recent miscarriages or are infertile because of blocked fallopian tubes or poor quality semen.

  • IVF is a process wherein the ovaries are first stimulated to produce a number of fertile eggs.
  • This is done with the help of ovary-stimulating medication.
  • Once the eggs have been produced, they are then harvested and removed from the woman’s body.
  • At the same time, sperm is also collected from the male partner. This is then used to fertilize the eggs in a laboratory.
  • Once fertilized, healthy embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus where she can carry the pregnancy to full term.

IUI Process

  • IUI is recommended in cases where the couple face hormonal imbalances or have unexplained infertility.
  • To undergo IUI treatment, the woman’s eggs do not need to be harvested.
  • However, medication may be needed tostimulate the ovaries into releasing an egg. Instead, only semen is collected from the male partner.
  • This is then ‘washed’ in a laboratory so as to separate the healthy sperm cells from the plasma.
  • It also removes any toxins that may be present. In this way, the sperm is concentrated.
  • The doctor will then wait for the woman to ovulate. After the egg has been released, the sperm cells are then directly inserted into the woman’s uterus with the help of a catheter. This increases the sperm’s chances of fertilizing the egg.

Difference in Costs
IUI is typically considered less invasive and cheaper of the two forms of treatment. However, success rate of IUI is 15% as compared to 50% in IVF. This is because more than one egg is fertilized in an IVF cycle. Hence, if a second and third cycle of treatment is required, the costs may even out. However, it is not possible to say that one is better than the other.

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