Pregnancy and Parenting Features

What do IVF, IUI and FET Stand For in Fertility Treatments?

IVF, IUI and FET all refer to a variety of Assisted Reproductive Therapy treatments, or ART treatments for short. IVF and FET are similar and related procedures, while IUI is unique.

IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination. In this procedure, the sperm are washed, concentrated, and directly injected into the uterus of the woman. This greatly increases the number of sperm that make it into the fallopian tubes, which is where sperm can fertilize an egg. IUI can use sperm from the male partner or from a donor. IUI is not effective if the male has problems with his sperm, such as a low sperm count or abnormal sperm. IUI is often coupled with medications to help a woman ovulate, such as Clomid.

IVF refers to In Vitro Fertilization. If a woman does not have any success with IUI, she will often be a candidate for IVF. In IVF, eggs are retrieved from the woman. Sperm are then used to fertilize the eggs outside of the womb in the lab. Once the eggs are fertilized, creating embryos, the embryos will then be transferred into the uterus around three to six days after the eggs were retrieved. IVF is one of the oldest ART treatments, and has been in use for over three decades.

FET, which stands for Frozen Embryo Transfers, is, procedurally, similar to IVF. When a woman has IVF, if there are extra embryos that are available, they can be frozen. If this is the case, they can be transferred into your uterus at a later time. FET is most useful for a woman who does not get pregnant with the first cycle of IVF treatments, or with a woman who has a successful IVF pregnancy and wants to become pregnant again in the future.

IVF and FET both carry a risk of having twins or multiples. The ovulation medications that often accompany IUI also create an increased risk for twins or multiples.

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