It can be extremely disheartening to make the decision to conceive a child, only to find yourself facing unanticipated challenges. Unfortunately, fertility problems affect a number of people, and leave many wondering if their dream of parenthood will ever become a reality. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we realize that there are a number of factors that can lead to infertility, which is why we offer a number of different fertility treatment options. Two of our most popular, and most successful, are IUI, or intrauterine insemination, and IVF, or in vitro fertilization. When considering IUI vs. IVF for our Los Angeles, CA patients we will evaluate the unique needs of each of our patients and consider which treatment option will give them a greater chance of becoming pregnant.
IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is more commonly referred to as artificial insemination. This procedure allows our doctors to place sperm directly into the female during ovulation. This can aid conception in a couple of ways. First we are able to monitor, or even trigger, ovulation so that the sperm can be placed at an appropriate time, when the eggs are mature. Second, prior to IUI we can “wash” the sperm. This involves the removal of seminal fluid so only the sperm remain.
IUI treatment may be successful in helping patients who have unexplained infertility issues, those who have minimal male factor infertility problems, or those women who have cervical muscle problems. IUI can be performed alone or offered in conjunction with fertility medication. In either case, IUI may significantly improve a couple’s chances of conceiving.
IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is a multi-step procedure that allows our doctors to monitor and assist throughout the various stages of conception. This is the most successful form of assisted reproductive technology, which accounts for its great popularity. IVF treatment is able to address a number of fertility problems and is a great treatment option for patients with ovulatory dysfunction, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, severe male factor infertility, or unexplained infertility.
IVF treatment can be broken down into several stages: ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilization, and embryo transfer. The following is a brief description of each of these procedures:
- Ovarian stimulation: Fertility drugs will be used to stimulate the ovaries and promote the development of multiple mature eggs. Prior to egg retrieval, a trigger shot of HCG will be administered to encourage the final maturation of these eggs.
- Egg retrieval: During this procedure, the patient is under sedation while a needle is passed into the vagina and into each ovary. Guided by ultrasound, this needle is used to retrieve the mature eggs so that they can be preserved for fertilization.
- Fertilization: Using a collected sperm sample, collected eggs will be fertilized in a laboratory. Successful embryos will be allowed to grow for up to six days before the best are chosen for transfer.
- Embryo transfer: Using a thin catheter, the selected number of embryos will be transferred into the woman’s womb. This is a fairly simple procedure that is similar to a cervical screening test, and should not require sedation.
With the enhanced control and monitoring that IVF allows, patients are able to dramatically increase their chances of becoming pregnant. IVF has proven successful for many fertility patients.
If you are struggling with infertility, do not give up hope. There are many fertility treatment options available that may enable you to finally achieve your dream of parenthood. Contact us at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology to learn more about these options.