The main difference between artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization is that artificial insemination is the deliberate introduction of sperms into a female cervix or uterine cavity, achieving in vivo fertilization, whereas in vitro fertilization is the process of fusion of egg and sperm outside the female body. Furthermore, artificial insemination involves injecting sperms into the uterus, decreasing the egg’s time of travel, while in vitro fertilization involves egg stimulation, retrieval, fertilization, and transfer.
In brief, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are two methods of assisted reproductive technology for achieving pregnancy by means other than natural conception. Generally, these methods are important in the fertility treatment in humans as well as in animal breeding in cattle and pigs.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Artificial Insemination
– Definition, Process, Importance
2. What is In Vitro Fertilization
– Definition, Process, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization
– Comparison of Key Differences
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilization, Intracervical Insemination, Intrauterine Insemination
What is Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is the deliberate introduction of sperms into the reproductive system of the female. In this insemination, based on the place of introduction, there are two methods of artificial insemination. They are intracervical insemination (ICI) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). Intracervical insemination is the easiest method of insemination, and it can be done at home for self-insemination as well. But, intrauterine insemination is complex and more invasive.
Importantly, the main purpose of artificial insemination is to decrease the distance as well as time to reach eggs. Here, the joining of sperm and egg occurs inside the Fallopian tubes. Therefore, it is a method of in vivo fertilization. Besides, the ideal candidates for the method would be young women with permeable Fallopian tubes. Their sterility period should be less than three years with the normal semen of the male partner. However, not more than four tries should be carried out, and the pregnancy rates can be up to 25-30 %.
What is In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization is the process of fusing eggs and sperms outside the female reproductive system, i.e., in the laboratory. This method involves the monitoring and stimulation of the ovulation process, retrieval of eggs, fertilization via conventional fertilization or ICSI, and the transferring of the resulting embryos into the uterus.
Moreover, in vitro fertilization is a complex and expensive procedure. Therefore, only 5% of couples use it. Mostly, it is ideal for couples with persisting sterility even after the simple treatments. Also, it is better for older women, with obstructed tubes, Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, couples with infertility of unknown origin, lesbians or parents with genetic diseases. However, in vitro fertilization shows a higher percentage of success.
Similarities Between Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization
- Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are two methods of achieving pregnancy with the assistance of different laboratory techniques.
- Therefore, they eliminate the need of sexual intercourse to achieve pregnancy.
- Moreover, they are important in the fertility treatment in humans as well as in animal breeding in cattle and pigs.
- Furthermore, both methods take sperms out of the body of the male.
Difference Between Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization
Artificial insemination refers to the medical or veterinary procedure of injecting semen into the vagina or uterus. In contrast, in vitro fertilization refers to the medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body.
Artificial insemination is the process of deliberate introduction of sperms into a female cervix or uterine cavity, achieving in vivo fertilization. However, in vitro fertilization is the process of fusion of egg and sperm outside the female body.
Moreover, artificial insemination involves injecting sperms into the uterus, decreasing the egg’s time of travel. But, in vitro fertilization involves egg stimulation, retrieval, fertilization, and transfer.
Eggs are not retrieved out of the female body but, ovulation is stimulated during artificial insemination, while eggs are retrieved out of the female body and embryos are introduced during in vitro fertilization.
Ovarian stimulation in artificial insemination may result in the growth of more than 2 to 3 follicles, leading to multiple pregnancies, while the main purpose of ovarian stimulation in in vitro fertilization is to obtain an adequate number of eggs, ranging between 6 to 15.
Fertilization occurs in the Fallopian tubes of the female body in artificial insemination, while fertilization occurs outside the female body under laboratory conditions in the in-vitro fertilization.
Artificial insemination is a less complex process, while in vitro fertilization is a complex process with surgical procedures to retrieve eggs.
Moreover, artificial insemination is cost-effective, while in vitro fertilization is a high-cost method.
The pregnancy rates of artificial insemination can be 25-30%, while in vitro fertilization shows higher pregnancy rates over 60% of success.
Success in Extreme Cases
Artificial insemination fails in cases of Fallopian tube blockage or severe male factor, while in vitro fertilization is not necessarily affected by fallopian tube blockage or severe male factor.
In Sterility and Other factors
Artificial insemination shows poor rates when the sterility time is over 3 years; it is due to a moderate male factor or when the woman has endometriosis. In vitro fertilization is recommended for couples with a prolonged sterility time, moderate male factors or women with endometriosis.
Collecting Information During the Process
Only limited information is taken during artificial insemination, while valuable information is obtained during in vitro fertilization in order to evaluate the ovarian response to stimulation, egg quality, fertilization, and embryo development.
Moreover, artificial insemination is the method for couples with a good prognosis (young couples who have not been trying to conceive for a long time without significant semen alterations, Fallopian tube blockage or endometriosis), while in vitro fertilization is the treatment with the highest chances of success in assisted reproduction and is the first choice in many cases.
Artificial insemination is the simpler method of achieving pregnancy excluding sexual intercourse. It involves the deliberate introduction of sperms into the cervix or vagina. Therefore, it promotes in vivo fertilization and hence, the fertility of the female becomes the critical factor. In comparison to this, in vitro fertilization is a somewhat complex process with the same purpose. It involves the retrieval of eggs from ovaries to undergo fertilization outside the female body. After that, embryos are introduced into the uterus. Thus, in vitro fertilization is important for couples with longer-term sterility and other extreme cases such as Fallopian blockage or severe male factor. Therefore, the main difference between artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization is the methodology and the conditions of patients.
1. Todd, Nivin. “Artificial Insemination & IUI in Humans: Purpose, Procedure, Benefits.” WebMD, WebMD, 24 July 2019, Available Here.
2. Todd, Nivin. “In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Risks, Success Rate, Procedure, Results.” WebMD, WebMD, 24 July 2019, Available Here.
1. “Blausen 0058 ArtificialInsemination” By BruceBlaus. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Blausen 0060 AssistedReproductiveTechnology” By BruceBlaus. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia