Every couple or individual deserves to enjoy the joy of parenthood and family but there are a lot of individuals who struggle to conceive naturally due to infertility issues, genetic disorders, and other problems. However, a couple’s infertility issues can cause them failure in conceiving through natural pregnancy even after trying for years, though various fertility treatment options can bring a ray of hope of conceiving your little one.
In recent years Assisted reproduction treatment and a few other fertility treatments have opened the doors for infertile couples and aided in achieving their dreams of expanding their families. One of the common and recommended options by professionals are IUI, ICSI, IVF, and surrogacy. While most of you might have come across these terminologies, but may have few doubts like how do these treatments look like? What are the perks, and which one is suitable for me?
We understand your concern and taking assistance for fertility treatment can be a difficult decision for many couples especially when they have tried different alternatives in a constant loop of conceiving a healthy child for months and years. To make your research and decision easier, we have broken down each fertility treatment with its process and advantages.
However, remember, every fertility journey differs, and hence every infertile couple will have different challenges, and fertility arrangements. Ensure that you consult a doctor, or fertility specialist or surrogacy professional for better understanding.
Let us walk you through different options for fertility treatments to help you select the best suitable fertility program for yourself.
- What is IUI?
- Pros of IUI treatment
- What is the challenging factor of IUI treatment?
- Why would a doctor recommend IUI to you?
- What is ICSI treatment?
- Pros of ICSI treatment
- Why ICSI?
- What is IVF treatment?
- Pros of IVF treatment
- Cons of IVF treatment
- Why can IVF be recommended by a doctor?
- IVF vs IUI
- ICSI V IVF
- IVF VS surrogacy
- Why do intended parents choose gestational surrogacy?
- What is the best fertility option for the intended parents?
What is IUI?
Intrauterine insemination or IUI usually gives sperm a little assistance to get in touch with the egg as it would happen during unprotected sexual intercourse. Couples who have been struggling with conceiving naturally but do not have infertility issues or who require sperm donors are recommended to attempt IUI treatment.
With this fertility treatment, women do not need to take additional medications for hormones unless she has an irregular menstrual cycle. In this case, she will need fertility treatment to get complete ovulation and a natural cycle. Though IUI treatment procedure begins with collecting semen samples of the intended father or sperm donor and it is then inserted into a woman’s uterus during her peak ovulation time Fertilization of naturally released eggs happens with the intended mother or surrogate’s uterus ( in case you choose traditional surrogacy).
Pros of IUI treatment
- IUI treatment can be performed without taking any fertility drugs.
- The intended mother can rely on the eggs naturally ovulating during the menstrual cycle.
- IUI treatment is quite similar to natural conception so you are free from tedious and time-consuming treatment. However, few couples may need more than one insemination to achieve successful implantation.
- It is cheaper than other fertility treatments like IVF and less physically challenging.
What is the challenging factor of IUI treatment?
If the intended mother chooses to use hormones to regulate the ovulation cycle then there is a high risk of conceiving multiple babies.
Why would a doctor recommend IUI to you?
Patients who wish to choose sperm donors to conceive a healthy child may be advised to consider IUI as it’s a simple and quick treatment to achieve pregnancy. However, IUI works best when fallopian tubes are clear and there must be enough healthy sperm and mature eggs that can be fertilized. Depending on your medical condition, a professional would recommend IUI if you don’t have a complicated infertility problem.
What is ICSI treatment?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI fertility treatment is a similar or more targeted treatment to the IVF procedure. ICSI is catered to men who have infertility problems like low sperm counts, or poor sperm mobility.
The procedure of ICSI is quite similar to IVF but instead of collecting both eggs and sperm samples and placing both gametes in a laboratory dish and waiting for fertilization. ICSI extracts a single healthy sperm cell from the intended father’s semen sample and then it is directly inserted into the center of the egg by using an ICSI needle commonly known as a micropipette. Once the eggs are fertilized with injected semen, embryos are formed and transferred into the intended mother’s uterus.
The major difference between other infertility treatments and ICSI is, in IVF there are several sperm particles or samples placed near the egg in the same dish waiting for it to fertilize. And fertilization occurs when one of the sperm enters into the cytoplasm of the egg, whereas with ICSI fertility treatment the sperm sample is directly injected into the center of the egg.
Pros of ICSI treatment
- ICSI fertility treatment helps you get pregnant even if your male partner has fertility problems.
- Since using this treatment, sperm is injected and it bypasses the other phases of early fertilization. Only the best quality sperm is used for the fertilization procedure.
Why ICSI treatment?
- ICSI treatment is catered to solve male fertility problems, whether your partner is struggling with low sperm count or poor sperm mobility, this treatment can aid you to achieve implantation quickly.
- ICSI can also be used for surgically- retrieved sperm or for men who have high levels of DNA damage.
- If sperm-related issues aren’t the main cause of complications in fertility, then your doctor may recommend IVF treatment.
What is IVF treatment?
In-vitro Fertilization or IVF is one of the most popular treatments among infertile couples worldwide. It is all-inclusive for assisted reproductive treatment, and known to be an infertility treatment for women and includes a unique procedure that aims to help women with fertility issues like lower egg counts or obstacle factors for fertilizing eggs like damaged fallopian tubes.
It can also be recommended for males for mild fertility issues, couples wishing to conceive through a surrogate mother, couples who have undergone several failed attempts with IUI, and couples who need genetic screening.
IVF is a process wherein couples’ gametes are collected and fertilized outside the body i.e in a laboratory by mixing in an incubator. The process is usually performed in a test tube to observe and check the embryos, hence the treatment is also called test tube baby.
To initiate the process, the intended mother would be given fertility drugs or hormonal pills to begin the development of eggs in her ovary. To explain the procedure, let’s delve in deeper and understand the IVF process steps.
Once the intended mother or surrogate produces several matured eggs, then IVF specialists would collect those eggs commonly called IVF egg retrieval, and combine them with a sperm sample of the intended father or sperm donor in a laboratory using an incubator to begin the fertilization procedure.
The eggs from IVF egg retrieval and sperm sample will be placed in a laboratory dish until the sperm fertilizes. After days of observation, specialists would transfer the resulting embryos into the intended mother or surrogate’s womb. Now, the number of embryos to be transferred depends on the decision of the couple, the intended mother or surrogate’s medical condition, and the doctor’s recommendation. If someone wishes to transfer multiple embryos, usually 3 embryos are suggested by a specialist.
Pros of IVF treatment
- IVF treatment permits couples to maximize the chance of fertilization by combining qualitative eggs and sperm.
- Through embryo selection technique, specialists can select the best quality of embryos that can increase the chance of implantation even if you transfer 1 embryo at a time.
- If in case a couple has more than one good embryo from the cycle, they can freeze the embryos for future use.
Cons of IVF treatment
- The women undergoing IVF treatment must take pills for hormones, which can cause some side effects like mild cramping, breast tenderness, mood swings, and ovarian stimulation syndrome.
- Also, IVF treatment is more expensive compared to IUI.
Why is IVF treatment recommended?
- IVF is designed to solve the issues of conceiving successfully.
- If you are facing issues that are preventing sperm from fertilizing with eggs like damaged fallopian tubes or blockages then IVF might be the best-suited option for you. Also, it is named as infertility treatment for women.
- Doctors may recommend in a few cases of unexplained infertility problems and mild male fertility cases.
IVF VS IUI
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In-vitro fertilization (IVF) both are fertility treatments designed to assist couples and individuals struggling to conceive naturally. The key difference between both treatments is IVF procedure includes egg stimulation, IVF egg retrieval, fertilization, and embryo transfer. Whereas, IUI injects sperm into the uterus directly to reduce the sperm’s travel time toward eggs.
People often get confused between both medical terminologies, although we have explained both the treatment with their process and advantages yet we have broken it further for your better understanding.
IVF process steps usually include 5 stages
- Conducting pre-cycle diagnostic testing.
- Stimulation of ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs in one cycle.
- IVF egg retrieval procedure from each ovary
- Fertilization of eggs with a sperm sample in the laboratory through conventional fertilization or ICSI and then
- Transfer of qualitative embryos into the womb of the intended mother or surrogate mother.
Though the chance of pregnancy via IVF highly depends on the age of the woman, the primary reason for infertility, and a few other factors related to the quality of embryos.
Talking about IUI is a treatment wherein sperm is inserted directly into the woman’s womb while she ovulates. During ovulation, a woman produces one egg that is picked at the end of the fallopian tube and waits to meet with the sperm. IUI treatment focuses on good-quality sperm close to where the egg is waiting. This procedure increases the chances of implantation as with IUI the chances of both gametes to unite are higher compared to the natural conceiving process.
IVF vs surrogacy
As we discussed above, IVF is one of the popular infertility treatment for women and men. While it has been a boon for lots of infertile couples across the globe yet a lot of people are confused between IVF and surrogacy. Are they both the same?
Well, the answer is no! In IVF intended mother’s eggs are fertilized in a laboratory with her partner i.e intended father’s sperm. While in surrogacy (Gestational) a surrogate mother carries and delivers a baby for someone else.
Both the programs differ in procedure and include several factors. To understand the difference between IVF and surrogacy, keep reading…
IVF and its success rates
With the assistance of fertility drugs, IVF treatment stimulates the egg of the intended mother to make them ready for fertilization. IVF being the infertility treatment for women ensures preparing good quality embryos so that a couple can achieve successful implantation.
The success rates of IVF depend on the age of the intended mother as generally the success rates of IVF decrease subsequently with the age.
If you are 35, usually doctors and IVF specialists would recommend moving with the procedure through an egg donor as the quality of eggs starts declining post-35. Whereas, if you are younger than 35, IVF can be an ideal program to conceive as its success rate with reproductive age is around 70-80%.
What is Gestational surrogacy?
Usually, Gestational surrogacy is preferred when even an IVF procedure leads to failure in conceiving a child. In surrogacy, fertilized eggs are transferred to another’s womb referred to as surrogate mother or gestational carrier.
Intended parents can provide their gamete material, if in case one or both the parents are infertile then they can choose to use donors to create qualitative embryos via the IVF procedure. The difference here is, the surrogate won’t have any biological link with the child as in she will only carry the baby, gamete material is of intended parents and or donors.
While surrogacy is a ray of hope to the intended parents who have faced multiple rounds of failure with every possible fertility program. Though, it is considered one of the complex processes as it includes financial, emotional, and legal factors.
Intended parents who consider walking the road of surrogacy alone may find it quite difficult and daunting as you must be well versed with multiple factors to have a successful surrogacy journey. Instead, approaching surrogacy professionals or agencies is suggested, they assist you with constant guidance.
Success rates of surrogacy
Usually, the success rate of surrogacy is around 75-80%. However, during the surrogacy journey through fertility clinics and renowned surrogacy agencies the success rate goes up to 85% because they provide you with a skilled embryologist to make sure there is no unwanted complication and you get a positive outcome, furthermore networking with experienced donors and surrogate mothers makes the process hassle-free.
Difference between surrogacy and IVF
The major difference is IVF procedure is emotionally complex for intended parents whereas surrogacy is complicated in terms of financial and legal matters. Otherwise, both the programs are quite similar and in the end, they both serve the purpose of providing intended parents with their dream of achieving parenthood and building a happy family.
Why do intended parents choose gestational surrogacy?
While there are several options for curing infertility, few couples still struggle with conceiving with the help of such programs. In that case, surrogacy solves the purpose of many intended parents. In recent years, IVF and surrogacy have enabled reproductive roadblocks. Today, every intended parent can build a family through surrogacy across the world. There are a few perks of selecting surrogacy, which we have listed below:
The surrogacy journey can be tailored to the intended parent’s interest
The greatest perk of surrogacy is it can be tailored or customized to the intended parent’s circumstances or needs. Intended parents would get in touch with a surrogacy professional/agency or a doctor and they will undertake every aspect regarding their fertility and medical condition to understand their pain points, requirements, and expectations to deliver positive outcomes.
The best IVF specialists and surrogacy professionals can direct intended parents with what kind of surrogate mother they must look for and what qualities they must look for in donors depending on their fertility circumstances. Also, they must educate intended parents on what they must expect with the embryo transfer procedure and overall protocol of conceiving through surrogacy.
Gender selection of embryos
With the help of advanced technology, intended parents can choose to select the gender of their child before beginning with the procedure of embryo transfer. Essentially, you can choose the sex of your baby before confirming pregnancy (only if it is permitted in your country). Depending on the individual’s family building arrangement, this can be a beautiful perk.
We have listed below a few common reasons why intended parents choose to go for gender selection:
- Intended parents might be having a sex-based genetically transmitted disease and would like to alleviate the risk of transmitting the such disease to their baby girl or boy.
- When intended parents had the unfortunate experience of losing a child previously, and wish to conceive again a child of the same sex.
- And other reasons.
Everyone can celebrate the joy of parenthood
Infertility isn’t the only issue that is restricting intended parents to conceive naturally. There are various other reasons as well like a genetic disease, and other medical conditions. Also, individuals or couples from the LGBT community find it difficult to conceive a biologically linked child, while surrogacy is the only option for them. The same is with hopeful singles who wish to build a family.
Adoption is also another alternative but a lot of IPs prefer to have genetically linked newborn babies. Irrespective of sexual orientation, marital status, or gender surrogacy has been fulfilling the dream of building a family of many intended parents.
Though, the surrogacy procedure with gay couples or single intended parents may have some tweaks and considerations, for which you will have to approach a surrogacy professional. In addition, to get successful surrogacy one must be well-versed in surrogacy laws and regulations.
Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)
Embryo selection based on genetics is completely optional, though intended parents wish to perform PGT before moving forward with embryo transfer.
Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is a form of advanced technology. It is used to identify a specific disease that intended parents might be already aware of and prefer testing before the embryo transfer process, for instance, cystic fibrosis. Based on the results, intended parents can choose the embryos that they want to transfer into the gestational carrier’s uterus.
What is the best and most reliable fertility treatment option for intended parents?
Considering all the treatments, depending on your infertility condition and performing fertility tests your doctor would suggest one suitable treatment for you. If in case you have faced several failed attempts with these treatments then IVF and surrogacy can be an ideal solution for you. To know more about surrogacy, visit our website or book our free consultation call!