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IVF vs. IUI: Differences Between Fertility Treatments

Being part of a same-sex couple or choosing to parent alone can present unique challenges. The good news is that there are numerous fertility treatments available. To learn more about these options and gain clarity, continue reading. Hopefully, you’ll soon be welcoming a new life into the world.

What is Fertility Treatment?

Fertility treatments are procedures that assist in achieving pregnancy, such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). When assistance is required for conception (for a variety of reasons), there are several fertility treatments available. The term “fertility treatment” often brings to mind procedures like IVF or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). These treatments are designed for couples who have difficulty conceiving naturally. (Meriofert etc.)

What Are the Different Types of Fertility Treatments?

In reality, fertility treatments encompass a broad array of procedures related to childbearing. In this article, we delve deeper into:

  • IVF
  • IUI
  • Stimulation of ovulation
  • Surgical procedures
  • Surrogacy

Having a baby is a dream that many people cherish; for some, it may even be the biggest milestone in their lives. Although it is very common to talk about having children, there is still a great deal of taboo about discussing the difficulties that can come with it. Everybody is different, as are our periods and hormones. This is also why it is harder for some people to get pregnant than others. You can buy fertility drugs with Fast IVF Pharmacy!

Why Choose Fertility Treatments?

While some couples or individuals choose to remain childless, others resort to fertility treatments after numerous unsuccessful attempts to conceive. When a treatment finally proves successful, it often feels like a miracle. There are several reasons why people opt for fertility treatments. A wide range of procedures can assist in conception, depending on individual needs and the specific reasons for seeking fertility treatment. These reasons may include:

  • Difficulty conceiving naturally
  • Desire to conceive with a same-sex partner
  • Prevention of genetic disorders being passed on to the baby
  • Opportunity for transgender individuals to have a biological child (prior to undergoing hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery)

Several conditions can affect fertility and make conception more challenging. These conditions include:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Thyroid problems
  • Early ovarian failure (when the ovaries stop working before the age of 40)
  • Endometriosis
  • Blockages of the fallopian tubes due to scars from surgery, fibroids, or inflammatory diseases of the pelvis
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Vaginismus
  • Chlamydia
  • Lifestyle factors, including being underweight or overweight.

On the other hand, fertility problems in men can be caused by:

  • Low sperm productionAbnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent sperm delivery
  • Damage to sperm cells, for example, due to disease or drug use
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking or drug use
  • Having a sexually transmitted disease (STD)

As frustrating as this may be, you’re not alone; in fact, approximately 1 in 6 couples encounter difficulties when trying to conceive. This is precisely why the field of medicine has been striving to find solutions through various fertility treatments.

While fertility treatments may not be the ideal choice, they do offer opportunities for conception. These treatments often involve numerous visits to specialists. By the time you begin these treatments, you’ve likely already navigated a long and challenging process. The unpredictability of fertility treatments can sometimes make maintaining optimism difficult. Therefore, it’s always beneficial to consult with a medical professional who can guide you appropriately. To prepare for this conversation, it can be useful to familiarize yourself with the different types of fertility treatments in advance.

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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

The most well-known fertility treatment is undoubtedly IVF, also known as test tube fertilization. This process takes place in a laboratory and involves fertilizing an egg outside the body, with sperm entering the egg. The fertilized egg is then implanted in the uterus, and from that point on, pregnancy proceeds naturally.

In vitro fertilization can be performed with your own egg or with an egg from a donor. In some cases, your eggs can be frozen years in advance, allowing you to delay parenthood until you are ready for this treatment. However, keep in mind that depending on your partner (if you have one), you may also need a sperm donor for this option to be viable. Therefore, for same-sex couples, a sperm donor is typically required.

The first IVF baby was born in 1978, and since then (up until 2019), more than 8 million children have been born worldwide as a result of this treatment method.

What is the difference between IVF and ICSI?

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a variant of IVF. Unlike the IVF treatment described above, in ICSI, the egg is fertilized by a single, high-quality sperm cell. Therefore, ICSI is primarily used in cases where there is a reduction in sperm quality.

What are the chances of becoming pregnant with IVF?

The success rate of this fertility treatment varies from person to person and is influenced by individual fertility disorders and age. Generally, the older you are, the more challenging it becomes. The chance of a successful pregnancy is approximately 20% after the first attempt. Multiple attempts can increase the chance of success. For instance, after three attempts, the success rate for pregnancy is about 40%.

This ratio can be quite frustrating. One woman who shared her story went through four FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer, the transfer of frozen embryos) cycles and stated:

“It took nearly 18 months, during which I experienced failure after failure, to finally receive a definitive infertility diagnosis: unexplained infertility.”

Given the relatively slim chances of having a baby through IVF, women often undergo numerous expensive and physically demanding treatments. This makes it a stressful process, both for the woman and her partner. What might make the situation slightly more bearable is remembering that you are not alone. There are many people in the Netherlands going through a similar situation.

IVF can also be an incredibly isolating experience. Michelle Obama spoke about her own experience with IVF:

“We sit in our pain, thinking something is wrong with our bodies. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s so important to talk to people about this. The worst thing we can do as women is not tell the truth about our bodies.”

Other types of fertility treatments

Although IVF is quite well-known, it is certainly not the only fertility treatment available. Depending on your situation and what works best for your body, there are other options to consider.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

In addition to IVF, IUI – intrauterine insemination – is also commonly used. This treatment is employed in cases of reduced sperm quality or low sperm count, or when pregnancy fails to occur after a long period for no apparent reason. In IUI, sperm is placed directly into the uterus. This procedure is performed at the moment of ovulation because a woman is at her most fertile during this time. IUI can be done in a normal cycle, but the cycle can also be induced with hormones. If IUI is repeatedly unsuccessful, the decision may be made to switch to IVF.

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Stimulation of Ovulation

For instance, your doctor might prescribe medication to stimulate ovulation. This method is also known as ovulation induction (OVI). Individuals with PCOS may particularly benefit from this treatment. This condition can lead to unpredictable and infrequent ovulation. It might also be an appropriate treatment if menstrual cycles are irregular or absent.

Surrogacy

Another common option is surrogacy, which involves another person carrying the pregnancy if you are unable to do so. This might be necessary if your uterus is damaged or has been removed. Other reasons might include physical impossibility of pregnancy. If your eggs are available, IVF can be used to place an embryo in the surrogate mother’s womb. If this is not possible, insemination or natural methods can also be used.

Surgical Procedures

Several surgical procedures are also considered fertility treatments. These include fertility-enhancing surgeries such as the removal of scar tissue in the fallopian tubes or the elimination of growths and cysts in and around the uterus. These obstructions can make the sperm’s journey to the egg more challenging or even impossible, akin to removing a blockage on a racetrack.

Regardless of the option you choose in consultation with your doctor, bear in mind that they don’t always guarantee success. Everyone responds differently to treatment, so it’s crucial to lean on your doctor and your loved ones for support.

Stop the Stigma Surrounding Fertility Treatments!

Thanks to fertility treatments, millions of children have been born. Yet, there remains a stigma surrounding this topic. For instance, some individuals may feel guilt for not being able to conceive naturally. Becoming pregnant through fertility treatments, such as IVF or IUI, can sometimes feel like “not good enough” because it is perceived as an unnatural method of conception.

These unfounded and harsh beliefs can lead some to feel like failures, as if they are unable to fulfill their natural biological function.

The opportunity to have children should be accessible to everyone. We should celebrate living in a world where medical advancements ensure that women can still have children when natural conception is not possible. This is not something to stigmatize, but rather, something to applaud.

Seek Help for Get Pregnant…

When the journey to pregnancy becomes challenging, it’s not surprising that our mood and mental health can be affected. It’s normal to feel sad, anxious, or even angry. However, when these emotions start to dominate, it’s important to consider seeking help if needed. After all, our bodies aren’t machines that can be controlled with on/off buttons.

Reaching out to your partner, doctor, or other close friends and family for additional support can significantly improve how you feel. Fertility treatments represent an incredible scientific advancement that has provided many people with the opportunity to conceive. However, this doesn’t mean the journey is easy, both physically and emotionally. So, if you’re feeling disheartened, remember to be kind to yourself and try to take things one day at a time.

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