Many couples, who have difficulty conceiving, when they start gathering information about assisted reproduction treatments, wonder about the differences between artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Each technique has its indications and a correct diagnosis is essential to properly advise the couple. The choice of the most suitable assisted reproduction treatment should be made by the specialist, valuing the most effective technique for the patient.

Below we will explain the main differences between these two techniques of assisted reproduction in a simple way.

Fertility Tecniques

  • Artificial Insemination:
    The woman’s ovaries are stimulated by administering hormones (FSH, LH), controlling the development of follicles to check if the number and size of these is appropriate. That’s when another hormone is administered (hCG) that triggers ovulation and released the egg. On the other hand, from a sperm sample of the partner or from an anonymous donor, the sperm with greater mobility and better morphology is selected. The day of ovulation, the sperm improved in the laboratory is introduced in the uterus using a thin cannula.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    Women’s ovaries are stimulated by administering hormones (FSH, LH), controlling the development of follicles to check that the number and size of these is appropriate. That’s when another hormone (hCG) is given that triggers ovulation. Unlike artificial insemination, IVF in eggs are removed by ovarian puncture and selected and maintained in the laboratory. While the semen sample from the partner or from an anonymous donor is prepared to later be introduced through a very thin into the eggs. A few days after the eggs were fertilized in the laboratory, the embryos with better features are selected and introduced into the uterus through a thin catheter.

Fertilization method

  • Artificial insemination:
    The fertilization occurs inside the woman in the fallopian tubes, introducing the selected sperm through a thin tube into the uterus.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    “In vitro Fertilization” is produced in the laboratory. The technique known as ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is generally used. In this technique, the surrounding cells around the eggs are removed to inject a single sperm into each selected egg.

Difficulty

  • Artificial insemination:
    Artificial insemination is a simple technique that does not require for the eggs to be extracted and fertilized in the laboratory.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    IVF is a more complex technique because it involves a procedure to extract eggs (ovarian puncture), fertilizing them in the laboratory (ICSI), track fertilized embryos (embryo culture) and a method for introducing these in the woman’s uterus (embryo transfer).

Ovarian stimulation

  • Artificial Insemination:
    Stimulation of the ovaries should be minimal to avoid multiple pregnancies. If 2-3 follicles grow there are chances of a multiple pregnancy occurs and in which case the cycle is possibly cancelled.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    The stimulation of the ovaries is seeking the greatest possible number of eggs, at least 3. The greater the number of eggs removed the greater the chances of obtaining good quality embryos in the laboratory. Leftover embryos that are not transferred can be stored frozen in case the couple decides to have more children or donate them to other couples.

Fertility treatment cost

  • Artificial Insemination:
    The price of artificial insemination is cheaper, around 1,000 euros per cycle.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    The price of IVF is higher, also depending on whether donor eggs or own are used, will range between 4,500 and 5,500 euros per cycle. The economic effort is greater than in artificial insemination, although if the chances of success per cycle are taken into consideration, the cost can be lower.

Success rate

  • Artificial Insemination:
    The chances of pregnancy by artificial insemination are lower, about 15% per cycle, but it depends on the age of the woman. Usually, a maximum of 4 attempts are made before giving up on this type of treatment, with a cumulative rate after four cycles of 45-50%.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    The chances of pregnancy by IVF are higher. The pregnancy rates of this treatment depend on: IVF with own eggs (40-50%) with donor eggs (60-65%), with partner’s sperm or donor sperm.

Monitoring Treatment

  • Artificial insemination:
    Artificial insemination does not offer much data during treatment.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    During the In vitro fertilization treatment, valuable information is obtained, as factors such as ovarian response to stimulation are evaluated, the quality of oocytes, fertilization and evolution of the embryos.

Patients

  • Artificial insemination:
    Artificial insemination is a good option for couples with good prognosis: young women, couples who have been trying to get pregnant for a short period of time, mild ovulatory dysfunction, abnormal cervical, coital factors, and mild seminal alterations.
  • In Vitro Fertilization:
    IVF is the treatment with the highest success rate, especially suitable for women above 37 years with blocked fallopian tubes, polycystic ovaries or endometriosis, repeated failures of artificial insemination, moderate seminal alterations or severe cases where there is the possibility of an IVF with donor eggs and / or sperm donation to increase the possibilities.