IUI vs. IVF – Which Treatment is Right For You?

The two most common, effective, and cost-efficient fertility treatments to enhance the chances of pregnancy are:

  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – also known as artificial insemination –
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Both IUI and IVF are proven methods of increasing a woman’s chances of conceiving a baby according to fertility specialist Dr. Randy Morris – founder and Medical Director of IVF1. Dr. Morris has successfully treated thousands of couples for their infertility for over 20 years.

Dr. Morris has compiled some facts to lessen your confusion about the basic differences between IUI and IVF.

Differences Between IUI and IVF

IVF Brief Overview

IVF is typically prescribed is for women who have failed to achieve a pregnancy after undergoing a series of less complicated medical procedures, such as IUI.

IVF is recommended in cases of:

  • Advanced maternal age of a woman – typically, over 35 years of age
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovulation disorders – premature ovarian failure or uterine fibroids
  • Lack of fallopian tubes due to surgical removal
  • Genetic disorder
  • Male factor infertility, including blockage, decreased sperm count or motility
  • Unexplained infertility

IUI Brief Overview

IUI is commonly prescribed as a first option for women who have been unable to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse.

IUI is typically recommended:

  • For women who have unobstructed fallopian tubes
  • For women who have a normal uterine cavity
  • For women whose male partner has unexplained infertility

Procedure Setting

  • IVF is a simple outpatient surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia – the patient can resume normal activities the day after the procedure
  • IUI is performed in the doctor’s office and requires no anesthesia – it is similar to a Pap smear

Ovarian Follicle Growth

  • IVF – The patient is administered a series of hormone medication injections to stimulate the development of multiple follicles through the stage of egg maturity.
  • IUI – The patient is administered an oral medication (typically, Clomid or Femara) – sometimes in combination with an injectable fertility drug – during her cycle to stimulate egg production.

Union of Eggs with Sperm via IVF

  • The development of the patient’s egg follicles are monitored throughout the woman’s egg growth stage of her cycle with blood level hormone measurements and pelvic ultrasounds.
  • The doctor determines the prime time to induce ovulation via hCG injection administration.
  • The patient’s eggs are surgically retrieved by the doctor using a transvaginal ultrasound-guided aspiration tool.
  • The patient’s eggs are then fertilized with sperm in a controlled embryological laboratory.
  • All resulting embryos are continuously monitored until they reach an optimum stage of development.
  • One or more high grade embryo(s) are then transferred to the woman’s uterus via an insemination catheter.
  • IVF is a costly procedure, however, the patient has the option of electing to freeze excess embryos for future transfers should the first attempt fail.

Union of Eggs with Sperm via IUI

  • The development of the patient’s egg follicles are monitored throughout the woman’s egg growth stage of her cycle with blood level hormone measurements and pelvic ultrasounds.
  • The doctor determines the prime time to induce ovulation via hCG injection administration.
  • The patient’s male partner’s sperm specimen is produced in the doctor’s office (or frozen donor sperm is retrieved) and prepared in a laboratory setting using special viability enhancement solutions.
  • The semen specimen is washed and prepared for insertion into the woman’s uterus using an insemination catheter.
  • The preparation and insertion of the sperm assures that a highly concentrated amount of mobile and active sperm are placed directly into the woman’s uterus.
  • Usually 2 IUI inseminations are performed after the hCG ovulation release injection – between 12 and 36 hours after administration – to increase the chance of conception.
  • IUI provides a low cost infertility treatment alternative for increasing a woman’s chance of pregnancy.

IVF Medications

Medications administered in conjunction with IVF are proven to be successful. A wide selection of fertility drug injections are available in the United States market today.

IVF medications are used as in the treatment of women with ovulation disorders causing their inability to produce eggs and ovulate. IVF medications are used to adjust a woman’s hormone levels and increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.

Hormonal adjustments through IVF medications are used to:

  • Stimulate the production of multiple egg follicles,
  • Trigger the release of eggs,
  • Suppress the release of eggs, or
  • Otherwise regulate ovulation

IVF Superovulation Medications

Superovulation with Gonadotropins are used to treat infertility by stimulating a woman’s ovaries to develop multiple egg follicles.

  • Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH). This medication stimulates the development and growth of eggs in a woman’s ovaries. Common brand names that are most successful: Follistim, and Gonal-F.
  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Antagonist (GnRH antagonist). These medications are used to regulate female hormone responses and may be used in conjunction with FSH medications. Common brand names: Ganirelix and Cetrotide.
  • Letrozole (trade name: Femara) is an IVF medication that has most recently been incorporated into the regiment of drugs used for fertility treatment. This medication can be used to stimulate the growth and release of an egg follicle in women who are unable to ovulate naturally – ovulation induction. Femara also increases the chances of pregnancy in women who are able to ovulate and produce what is known as “superovulation.” Letrozole is part of the class of IVF medications called aromatase inhibitors – aromatase is an enzyme that produces estrogen.
  • Lupron is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist that inhibits the woman’s pituitary gland’s ability to control the ovary and prevents the ovary from prematurely releasing egg follicles during the IVF cycle.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) – commonly known as a ovulation trigger injection – is an IVF medication typically used when the doctor has determined through blood tests and sonograms that your egg follicles have matured and are ready to be released from the ovaries. Common brand names: Novarel, Ovidrel, Pregnyl, and Profasi.

Progesterone is produced by the ovaries after a woman ovulates. In the IVF cycle progesterone is produced after the hCG trigger injection. Progesterone is supplemented after the hCG trigger injection via vaginal suppository or intra-muscular injections – or both. Progesterone prepares the development of the woman’s uterine lining for the implantation of the embryo(s).

Renowned IUI and IVF Provider

Discover your fertility treatment options at IVF1. Dr. Randy Morris invites you to meet with him personally at the Naperville Fertility Center. You can also consult with Dr. Morris through a secured Infertility Video Consultation.

To schedule a consultation, please call 630.357.6540 – or – click the icon below and download a recently published eBook by Dr. Randy Morris for more information about fertility treatment options.

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