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IVF vs IUI: Which fertility treatment is better for you? Doctors answer

In today’s rapidly evolving world, we are becoming increasingly concerned with meeting the demands for survival in the present era and in this fast-paced culture, both men and women are prone to a variety of health disorders due to demanding schedules, stress, anxiety, poor lifestyle, etc and such couples, when planning to conceive, struggle a lot. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Priti Gupta, Senior Consultant in Fertility and IVF services at First Step IVF (Centre for Reproductive Medicine) in New Delhi, shared “Couples living in urban areas are experiencing greater infertility than rural areas do. In recent years, low sperm counts in men and decreased egg reserves in women have been quite prevalent which reduces the chances of conceiving naturally. Such couples can be benefited from fertility treatments i.e. Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)”.

1. IVF – In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a method in which the egg and sperm are fertilised outside of the female body. The procedure entails keeping an eye on the woman’s ovulatory cycle, removing an egg or ovum from the ovaries, and then allowing it to fertilise in a lab with the sperms. After fertilisation, the egg is placed inside the woman’s uterus. IVF is the most successful kind of assisted reproductive technology. Preimplantation genetic testing is also possible with this process (PGT).

2. IUI: Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is performed by directly placing the sperm cells in the uterus when a woman is ovulating, which speeds up the process of the sperm reaching closer to the eggs. Donor insemination, alternative insemination, and artificial insemination are other terms for IUI.

According to Dr Priti Gupta, “IVF and IUI, have both helped couples with excellent fertility assistance. The fundamental distinction between IUI and IVF is that, while IUI involves internal fertilisation, IVF involves exterior, or outside of the uterus, fertilisation that occurs in a laboratory.”

So, now the question is which is better for you?

Dr Priti Gupta said, “In comparison to IVF, IUI is a less intrusive treatment that involves the implantation of motile sperms in the uterus, which increases the likelihood of conception. This method saves couples time and is ideal for cases of low sperm count of the male partner, or in unexplained infertility. Though IUI can’t be effective in situations where the patient is having blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, poor ovarian reserves, severe endometriosis, etc.”

Regarding the positives of IVF, she pointed out that you should know that this process is quite advantageous for couples concerned about genetic abnormalities and have had numerous unsuccessful IUI cycles or miscarriages. She said, “IVF also give hope to individual/ couples who wish to delay parenthood by preserving eggs or embryos. Additionally, with IVF, couples who wish to have children might choose donor sperm, donor eggs, or donor embryos. Infact, with the help of IVF, same-sex couples, women having medical issues can have a biological child through a surrogate mother.”

Dr Priti Gupta revealed, “In case of In vitro fertilisation (IVF) failure or severe male infertility factors, such as low sperm count or poor sperm motility, the Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) technique has proven to be an effective treatment for infertile couples. For people who had given up hope, this method aids in producing a successful pregnancy and obtaining fertilised embryos. IVF and ICSI are both parts of assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in which eggs are fertilised with sperm outside the body. In IVF, the egg and sperm are left in a laboratory dish to fertilize on their own whereas, in ICSI, the selected sperm is directly injected into the egg.”

Assisted Reproductive Technique [ART] is a therapy established for the treatment of infertility in most clinical situations. It includes a wide range of latest techniques of which intrauterine insemination [IUI],in-vitro fertilization [IVF] and intracytoplasmic sperm injection [ICSI] are most popular.

Elaborating upon the same, Dr Ritu Prasad, Infertility and IVF specialist at Morpheus Prasad International IVF centre in Dehradun, said, “I.U.I. is a low-tech, safe, easy, least invasive & cost-effective ART treatment where low volume[0.25-0.5ml] of morphologically good grade, rapidly progressive motile sperms, free of any pus, debris, reactive oxygen species[ROS], by applying different sperm wash methods are placed directly in the uterine cavity of the female partner. The rationale behind i.u.i. is to increase the conception rate in the couple by increasing the number of healthy sperm reaching the fertilization site. Infertile couples who need IUI are basically who are suffering from male infertility, ejaculatory psychogenic disorders in form of premature or retrograde ejaculation, unexplained infertility, cervical factors [ thick mucus] or mild ovulatory disorders in females, azoospermia [nil sperms] with use of donor sperms from ART registered sperm banks.”However, she added, “Even though I.U.I. is the least invasive & cheaper procedure, it has its fair share of disadvantages starting with its below-par success rate of 7-12%, it is also not recommended in bilateral blocked fallopian tubes, advanced maternal age, chronic long-standing infertility[>10-12year], poor ovarian reserve, moderate to severe grade polycystic ovarian disease / Endometriosis, severe grade oligospermia. On the other hand, I.C.S.I. is the latest advanced ART technique, which involves extraction of oocytes from ovaries after ovarian stimulation with hormonal injections [ gonadotrophins] followed by fertilization in a specialized designed modular IVF / ICSI lab having state of art microscopes, incubators, coda air filters, etc. along with fertilization/culture media. Then the good quality cleaving embryos are transferred on day 3 or Blastocyst day5 to the uterus [ embryo transfer ET]. The Rationale is to bypass the Fallopian Tubes where fertilization happens naturally.”

Distinguishing between the two fertility treatments, she gushed, “The main advantage of ICSI over IUI/ IVF is that where in conventional fertilization each oocyte is incubated with approximately 50,000 sperms & fertilization happens naturally whereas ICSI requires only one sperm per female egg retrieved out & directly injected in the cytoplasm of the oocyte. It is becoming a boon for fertilization failure patients, in females having thick zona [ outer covering of egg] due to Advanced Maternal Age, severe PCOS/ endometriosis, in males suffering from severe low sperm count [ <1 million] plus could be coupled with various sperm retrieval techniques like TESA, PESA, MESA etc.”

Infertility is prevalent, and couples of all ages are advised to get treatment as soon as possible. As every patient possesses a different scenario and conditions, you can refer a fertility professional for a consultation to assess your medical history and choose the best course of action for you.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by GOVT.in staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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