Medical procedures, whether they are clinical, diagnostic, or therapeutic, often have long names that are often difficult to pronounce and remember. Assistive reproductive therapy is no different, and the modalities may be very different despite having similar sounding names. IUI, ICSI, and IVF are among the most common acronyms mentioned between professionals in the field of assistive reproductive therapy as well as between these doctors and their patients. Generally speaking, these are all methods of fertilization, and respectively, these stand for intrauterine insemination, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and in-vitro fertilization. These artificial insemination techniques are all available at fertility clinics all over the Philippines
Intrauterine sperm injection (IUI) is a fertility treatment where sperm are injected into the uterine cavity and allowed to swim toward and penetrate the oocyte under their own power. This treatment is indicated for couples whose infertility issues can be traced back to a problem with the male partner’s sperm count or morphology leading to poor motility. IUI in the Philippines has enjoyed improved success over the past few years, thanks to several key advances in medical and reproductive research and technology.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a dramatically more direct approach at oocyte fertilization. In this procedure, sperm from the male partner are injected directly into the oocyte to cause fertilization. This eliminates the need for the sperm to swim from the vaginal cavity through the cervix, into the uterus and fallopian tube, to meet the egg. Again, this treatment is indicated for couples where the male partner has problems with his sperm, such as count or morphology. Both ICSI and IUI are done at the middle of the female partner’s menstrual cycle, when she is ovulating.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is the fertility treatment where a woman’s oocytes and a man’s sperm are harvested, sometimes preserved until an appropriate time, and then fertilized via injection. This method of reproductive therapy allows for the greatest control by eliminating as many variables as possible. After fertilization has occurred, an embryo is allowed to develop, sometimes into the more advanced blastocyst stage, which helps ensure a successful transfer into the mother’s uterus for implantation.
Whereas IUI and ICSI are techniques that are invasive, IVF is not an invasive procedure in and of itself. The procedure of harvesting oocytes for IVF is invasive, however. Any excess samples can be preserved cryogenically and stored for future pregnancies, or other relevant purposes.