The realization that the ability to reproduce naturally may not happen is heartwrenching. At that moment, it feels like everyone around you is getting pregnant the old-fashioned way and yet you've been trying with nothing to show for it. When times are tough, getting some help from scientists and doctors is a great option. We now have the capability to get pregnant in various ways, so why not exhaust all options?
If adoption isn't in your future, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) are fantastic options for parents to have a child safely and effectively. As always though, future parents need to do their homework to see which option is best for them and consult with their doctors to see whether IVF or IUI is a viable choice.
For starters, let's define IUI. American Pregnancy states that Intrauterine Insemination is when they place the male's sperm directly in the woman's uterus to fertilize.
Placing sperm inside the uterus saves the sperm travel time, which will hopefully lead to a quicker (and easier) chance of fertilizing the woman's egg. With more sperm searching for eggs, there's a higher chance of getting pregnant.
In vitro fertilization is a little more intense than IUI, however, the goal is the same: to help a person (or couple) have a child. Mayo Clinic explains that IVF is "complexed." Doctors will collect eggs from the woman's ovaries and sperm from the male.
In a Petri dish, they combine the sperm and the egg, hopefully creating a successful embryo. Once the embryo is created, it's then transmitted to the woman's uterus where it hopefully takes.
Now that we know what both IVF and IUI are, we can gage that IVF seems to be a touch more complicated than IUI, but it's very effective. Aspire Fertility notes that IVF is more complex than IUI because it has more steps involved. There are five, to be exact.
First things first, your doctors will perform pre-cycle diagnostic testing to make sure your body is right for IVF. Next, with the help of different medication and hormones, the woman will hopefully produce more eggs than her natural ovulation rhythm. Once her eggs have dropped, the doctors will go in and take the healthy eggs from the woman's ovaries where they'll then be fertilized by the man's sperm. If done successfully, the fertilized embryo will then be transferred to the woman's uterus.
You may think you know which test is best for you depending on the time and money that you have, but the doctor will run some tests first to make sure your situation is done so correctly.
Northwestern Medicine explains tests will be run to see whether IUI or IVF will even work for the woman in question and whether that pregnancy would be a successful one. From there, it's the mother's choice on what road she wants to take.
IVF seems to be more popular and better-known than IUI. Most women who havent don't their homework yet on different options already know two things: IVF is expensive and time-consuming. But why are those two tings true?
For starters, IVF requires more rounds than IUI, which means more medication, doctor check-ins, and even surgery. IVF also requires a woman to self-administer injections, which can really take a toll on a person.
If it's your goal to get pregnant with twins or more, IUI might be the winning choice for you! (Likewise, if the thought of having multiples is terrifying, then maybe IUI is too much of a risk...)
The reason why the chance of multiples goes up when a woman goes through IUI is because, according to Fertility IQ, IUI uses more than one embryo, which translates to more than one baby at times. IVF only focuses on one fertilized egg at a time as opposed to multiple.
For couples who are simply too busy to get pregnant during a woman's ovulation period or perhaps have impotence issues, IUI is a fantastic starting point. But every person's body is different, and for whatever reason, going through IUI may not work. This is when the more intense IVF can be done instead.
Northwestern Medicine suggests IUI being a great intro to pregnancy because it's more cost-effective and easier on the woman's body. So if it doesn't work, a woman still has hope for other treatments.
As aforementioned, many couples have an incline that IVF is expensive purely based off articles they read and things they hear. And they'd be right. Fertility IQ shares that IVF can cost around $20,000 a cycle...
This means that if the first attempt at getting pregnant doesn't work, that's $20,000 down the drain. IUI, however, can cost a person anywhere from $500-4,000.
If a woman has been trying to get pregnant the old-fashioned way, she may have had a few miscarriages during that time. And as painful and gutting as those miscarriages were, that's unfortunately not to say miscarriages won't happen again via IVF or IUI.
Fertility IQ notes miscarriages occur more often in women going through IUI than IVF. With IVF, there is a pre-implantation genetic screening at an additional cost that may help prevent miscarriages from occurring.
During IVF, doctors have the ability to fertilize more eggs and freeze the strongest embryos. This means if one embryo doesn't take during one cycle of IVF, there are more to use for the second cycle if the parent chooses. IUI doesn't necessarily have that luxury.
Considering each embryo is transferred one at a time to a woman's uterus, all a woman can do is sit and wait that everything is growing smoothly.