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IUI Vs. IVF: The Pros And Cons Of Each Fertility Treatment

There are many fertility disorders that can impact a woman's ability to conceive. Thankfully, advances within the medical world have allowed for procedures to assist with conception. Two of the most popular procedures are IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). IVF is a process where doctors fertilize a woman's egg (or donor's egg) outside of her body, then implants the embryo back into her uterus with the hope that the embryo will implant and develop. IVF occurs when a doctor injects washed sperm directly into a woman's uterus. Whether or not fertilization occurs is left up to nature. Both procedures come with their own set of pros and cons.

RELATED: 10 Things That Are Possible Because Of IVF

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10 IVF Pro: Higher Success Rate

IVF has a relatively high success rate. For women under 35, pregnancy occurs nearly 40% of the time, while natural conception occurs 25 % of the time. The success rate does fall as women age (down to 13-18 % for women over 40) but it still warrants better odds than natural conception. Since every woman is different, you should not, personally, expect to see these results, but history has proved that it is a promising option for couples with fertility issues. It is also a great alternative for single women who still want to become mothers, as well as same-sex couples.

9 IVF Con: Medicine Causes Side Effects

In the days leading up to IVF, women will be given a medicine called Gonadotropin to stimulate their egg production. Gonadotropin is self-administered via injections several times a day. While safe, the medicine is said to have unsavory side effects. They include but aren't limited to, headaches, nausea, respiratory infections, dizzy spells, abdominal bleeding, and mood swings. There's also a possibility of injection site pain. Fortunately, the side effects are said to not be long-lasting. However, if undergoing multiple cycles of IVF, the effects could be a continual ordeal.

8 IVF Con: It's Expensive

A woman is only able to conceive during her ovulation cycle whether or not it happens naturally or with assistance. IVF can only be attempted during this window. And Sometimes, it takes several cycles of IVF for it to be successful. A single cycle of IVF can cost up to $12,000 for a woman using her own eggs. If using a donor egg, it can add between $20,000 and $30,000 to the price tag, per cycle. It gets worse when you remember that most insurance companies don't cover IVF. If you end up undergoing multiple cycles, then IVF quickly becomes out of reach for low-income mothers and couples.

7 IVF Con: Invasive and Time Consuming

IVF is incredibly time-consuming.  The process consists of four steps, starting with egg stimulation, then retrieval. Next up is the fertilization of the egg and then the implantation of it back inside of the woman's uterus. It can take anywhere from days or months before a woman or couple becomes pregnant. From beginning to end, the process is also incredibly invasive. While IVF is said to come with minimal discomfort, the procedures used involve needles and minor surgery.

6 IVF Pro: Couples Can Screen Their Embryos For Genetic Issues

Any woman or couple who undergoes IVF is in the interest, first and foremost, of having the healthiest child possible. PDG (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis) allows for prospective parents to test their embryos before they're implanted. The test isn't foolproof, so it won't catch every possible disorder. As of today, PDG can find identify things fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and Tay-Sachs Disease, to name a few. Following the results, patients can decide whether or not to go through with the implantation process or whether or not to discard the embryos.

5 IUI Pro: Less Invasive

IVF involves removing matured eggs from a woman's fallopian tubes, then implanting embryos back into her uterus. The process is invasive and, in some cases, painful. IUI, however, is considerably less invasive and is often the first process that doctors recommend for women. Unlike IVF, there are no needles involved. Instead, doctors use a catheter to inject sperm or donor sperm directly into a woman's uterus. The entire process takes only a few minutes.

RELATED: 15 Laws On IVF Treatments From Around The World

4 IUI Pro: Less Expensive

IVF's hefty price tag, which starts at around $12,000, makes it financially unattainable for some people. Couples who require donor eggs can see that price triple or even quadruple overnight. IUI, however, is a low-cost option which only costs around $1,000 per cycle. That's nothing to spit at, but one IUI treatment likely won't put you in debt. It's also covered under some insurance policies.

3 IUI Pro: Better For Low Motility Of Sperm

A common reason that a woman can't conceive is because her partner's sperm has low motility. This means that, even if she's healthy, his sperm might have trouble traveling through her reproductive organs. IUI helps with this for two reasons. First, the doctor separates and washes the best sperm from the given sample. Then, the actual process places it up higher in the woman's uterus for the best results.

RELATED: Woman Delivers IVF Baby And Twins In Miracle "Triplet" Birth

2 IUI Con: Less Effective

Whereas a 35-year-old woman who undergoes IVF has a 40% chance of success, IUI warrants just 5-20% success rate. For healthy women under 35, that's even less successful than natural conception. However, it's still a great option for women with fertility issues. Given the laundry list of pros it has over IVF, however, including being less invasive and expensive, it's definitively worth a try.

1 IUI Con: Risk Of Multiples

IVF takes a lot of the guesswork out of the conception process. Since the egg is fertilized outside of the woman's body, it's not possible for it to split, resulting in multiples. Ideally, multiples can only occur if multiple embryos are implanted. However, IUI leaves much of the process up to nature. Whereas usually only one embryo is inserted into a woman's uterus, several sperm are injected during IUI to help boost its success rate. If fertility drugs have caused the woman to release more than one egg, then it will be possible for some or all of them to become fertilized.

NEXT: Does IVF Lead To Health Risks As Babies Age?

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