We live in a world fueled by science and technology. Without a doubt, science has fared well in the field of both male and female fertility. IVF, “In Vitro Fertilization,” is one of the most common and successful infertility treatments of modern times. Second, is IUI, “Intrauterine Insemination,” which is also popular for its high success rate. Both IVF and IUI can be recommended to a patient, based on their causes of infertility, age, and overall health.
IVF – World’s Leading Fertility Treatment
What Is IVF?
IVF is an assisted reproductive technology, which involves manually combining the retrieved egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo is then planted inside the woman’s uterus via gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).
How Does IVF Work?
The following is a timeline for IVF:
For a period of 8 to 14 days, precisely in the beginning of a menstrual cycle, the patient receives injections of medication containing a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a luteinizing hormone (LH) or a combination of both. These medications stimulate more than one egg to develop at a time. Another synthetic hormone, leuprolide or cetrorelix is given to the patient to prevent the releasing of eggs too early. Ovarian stimulation is vital to the procedure and it has been found to be generally safe. Polyzos, N. P., Drakopoulos, P., Parra, J., Pellicer, A., Santos-Ribeiro, S., Tournaye, H., … Garcia-Velasco, J. (2018). Cumulative live birth rates according to the number of oocytes retrieved after the first ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection: A multicenter multinational analysis including ∼15,000 women. Fertility and Sterility, 110(4):661-670.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2018.04.039
Every 2 to 3 days, blood hormone levels are checked and ovary measurements are done by ultrasound, to monitor the development of follicles – egg maturation sacs.
Once the follicles are deemed to be ready, a ‘trigger shot’ in the form of an injection is given to help the eggs mature to their full state. The medication contained in this injection is human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
Gathering the eggs is one of the most prominent steps and is performed within 36 hours of the last injection The patient is given a sedative and an anesthetic to allow for a painless procedure. Entry is made through an ultrasound probe via the vagina. This allows the physician to search and identify the ovaries and the mature eggs inside the follicles. A needle is inserted through the probe and is used to extract the eggs. Typically 8 to 15 eggs are collected over about a 20 minute period of time. Cramping or pressure for a few days is natural, and most patients feel better after about 2 days. Your doctor might also recommend that you begin taking progesterone supplements to make the lining of your uterus more receptive to implantation.
Development of Embryos
The harvested eggs are placed in a nutritive liquid called culture medium and are incubated. Not all eggs will be fertilized. Only those that appear to be the healthiest and most mature will be mixed with sperm to attempt to create embryos. If fertilized, 6 to 10-celled embryos develop within about three days of egg retrieval. Around 2-6 days after retrieval, the eggs will be ready to be implanted in the woman.
Viable Embryo Selection
An embryologist will be responsible for the selection of one or more embryos that are fit for uterus placement. Dobson, S. J. A., Lao, M. T., Michael, E., Varghese, A. C., & Jayaprakasan, K. (2018). Effect of transfer of a poor quality embryo along with a top quality embryo on the outcome during fresh and frozen in vitro fertilization cycles. Fertility and Sterility, 110(4):655-660. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2018.05.010 The remaining embryos can be frozen and used for any future IVF cycles.
Plantation of Embryos
1 to 5 embryos are placed in the uterus, depending upon the doctor diagnosis. A thin tube is used for insertion through the cervix, with this you might feel light cramping – anesthesia is usually not required at this stage. If necessary, the doctor may give the patient a mild sedative.
If IVF is successful, the embryo will implant in the uterine lining and will develop into a baby. This type of conception increases the chances of multiple pregnancies and around 20% of IVF babies are twins and more.
The cost of infertility treatments can range from $20,000 to 36,000.
IUI – SIMPLE & QUICK WAY TO FERTILIZATION
What Is IUI?
IUI is another popular fertility treatment that involves placing sperm directly inside the uterus, to accomplish fertilization. The major goal of IUI is to enhance the number of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes and eventually raising the chances of conceiving a baby. In simpler words, IUI gives the sperm a head start in their race to reach the egg for fertilization.
How Does IUI Work?
The following is the timeline for IUI treatment:
The ovaries start the production of eggs in a couple of ways for fertilization. A natural IUI cycle includes no use of fertility drugs, and an artificial IUI includes stimulation of egg production via a fertility drug. Danhof, N. A., Van Wely, M., Repping, S., Koks, C., Verhoeve, H. R., de Bruin, J. P., … SUPER study group. (2018). Follicle stimulating hormone versus clomiphene citrate in intrauterine insemination for unexplained subfertility: A randomized controlled trial. Human Reproduction, dey268. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dey268 Either way, the goal here is to get healthy eggs.
With an ovulation detection kit, one may easily pinpoint their ovulation period and the right time for insemination. When an egg is released from the follicle, the kit shows a surge in luteinizing hormone, which indicates the optimal time for insemination. Most IUIs are done a day or two after detecting ovulation.
The collected sperm samples are then ‘washed’ to separate the sperm from the semen. The sperm is then concentrated and ready for placement in the uterus.
A long thin tube is used to place the concentrated sperm directly into the uterus via the cervix. This is a painless process, but mild cramping may occur.
Within one or two weeks of artificial insemination, a pregnancy test can confirm the status of conceiving.
IUI is a less invasive and inexpensive procedure, which may cost up to $900. However, this does not include the cost of any blood or ultrasound monitoring, FSH injections, and donor sperm if necessary.
IUI or IVF: Which One Is For You?
Depending upon your health and past history of infertility, your doctor may suggest either IUI or IVF fertility treatment. Certain factors may help you make the right decision. Quinquin, M., Mialon, O., Isnard, V., Massin, N., Parinaud, J., Delotte, J., & Bongain, A. (2014). In vitro fertilization versus conversion to intrauterine insemination in Bologna-criteria poor responders: How to decide which option? Fertility and Sterility, 102(6):1596-601. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.08.023
When Should I Try IUI?
It’s a great option for same-sex couples, couples with mild male or/and female-factor infertility, use of sperm donor, and minor cervical issues. You need to meet the following criteria for success:
- At least one unblocked the fallopian tube
- Healthy ovulation, with or without fertility meds
- Good amount of healthy egg production
- Normal uterine cavity
When Should I Try IVF?
There are many factors to look at when considering IVF. They include cost, time, use of fertility medications, and the need for anesthesia during the procedure. You need to be sure that you definitely want a child, and that other forms of infertility treatment either haven’t worked or wouldn’t work before you take this step. However, if you fall into one or more of the following categories, you meet the criteria for need.
- Women over the age of 38 and looking for fertility options
- Both fallopian tubes are blocked
- Reduced number of healthy eggs
- Diagnosis of advanced endometriosis
- Severe male factor infertility
Maca Root: A Wonder Herb To Enhance Fertility
The fertility treatments discussed here are controlled by doctors and high-tech medical tools, but there is one natural component that may improve their success rate – maca root. Originating from the Andes of Peru, this cruciferous vegetable grows in the harshest farmlands in the world. It is the only food crop that can survive at such high altitudes. Dating back for more than 3000 years, native Peruvians have used maca root as food and medicinally for fertility, sexual drive, energy, and vitality.
How does Maca work with fertility treatments?
Maca is a powerhouse of nutrients, containing over 31 different minerals and 69 phytonutrients. It is a nourishing food that can have key effects on both male and female hormones. It was first scientifically researched in 1961, and a compound known as glucosinolates was found within the maca root. It may affect fertility in both men and women, and it supports normal thyroid and sexual functions. Onaolapo, A.Y., Oladipo, B. P., & Onaolapo, O. J. (2017). Cyclophosphamide-induced male subfertility in mice: An assessment of the potential benefits of Maca supplement. Andrologia, 50(3). doi: 10.1111/and.12911
Enhances Hormonal Balance
Maca promotes optimal functioning of the hypothalamus (responsible for regulating the release of hormones) and the pituitary gland (releases hormones) in the brain, thereby improving the functioning of all the endocrine glands. Studies have shown that taking Maca enhances LH serum levels during the LH surge (as described above) and promotes ovulation. It also helps to maintain hormonal balance within the body. It does this without raising the levels above what is required and may help achieve the perfect estrogen to progesterone ratio for a healthy pregnancy.
For men, low levels of testosterone can cause erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, and lack of libido. Maca also helps men, by balancing the hormone levels, to maintain the highest sperm production and mobility rates.
Promotes Normal Sexual Functions
Maca can increase libido in both men and women; while enhancing the sperm count, DHEA levels and iron levels; which makes for a perfect fertilization process.
Works Great With Fertilization Treatments
The primary goal of both IVF and IUI is fertilization. Consuming Maca roots may help aid this process and increase your chances of getting pregnant by balancing the hormones and increasing sperm production.
When Should You Take Maca Roots?
It is suggested to take 4 pills every day, for at least 3 months prior for avail its natural benefits. For fertility treatments, you may take 2 or 4 Maca supplements every day prior to seven days after the start of the treatment. And continue to take it throughout the course, if suggested otherwise by your doctor. You may stop the consumption of Maca during pregnancy.
A dosage of 500-3000 mg per day is suggested for desired results and is best taken before 3 pm.
Maca is a herbal supplement that may influence the best qualities of IVF and IUI treatments and help your body move in the right direction of getting pregnant. Do your research, talk to your doctor, and pick the right fertility mode along with Maca supplements.
|↑1||Polyzos, N. P., Drakopoulos, P., Parra, J., Pellicer, A., Santos-Ribeiro, S., Tournaye, H., … Garcia-Velasco, J. (2018). Cumulative live birth rates according to the number of oocytes retrieved after the first ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection: A multicenter multinational analysis including ∼15,000 women. Fertility and Sterility, 110(4):661-670.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2018.04.039|
|↑2||Dobson, S. J. A., Lao, M. T., Michael, E., Varghese, A. C., & Jayaprakasan, K. (2018). Effect of transfer of a poor quality embryo along with a top quality embryo on the outcome during fresh and frozen in vitro fertilization cycles. Fertility and Sterility, 110(4):655-660. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2018.05.010|
|↑3||Danhof, N. A., Van Wely, M., Repping, S., Koks, C., Verhoeve, H. R., de Bruin, J. P., … SUPER study group. (2018). Follicle stimulating hormone versus clomiphene citrate in intrauterine insemination for unexplained subfertility: A randomized controlled trial. Human Reproduction, dey268. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dey268|
|↑4||Quinquin, M., Mialon, O., Isnard, V., Massin, N., Parinaud, J., Delotte, J., & Bongain, A. (2014). In vitro fertilization versus conversion to intrauterine insemination in Bologna-criteria poor responders: How to decide which option? Fertility and Sterility, 102(6):1596-601. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.08.023|
|↑5||Onaolapo, A.Y., Oladipo, B. P., & Onaolapo, O. J. (2017). Cyclophosphamide-induced male subfertility in mice: An assessment of the potential benefits of Maca supplement. Andrologia, 50(3). doi: 10.1111/and.12911|