Conventional IVF and ICSI are two common techniques to achieve fertilization. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) has long been used for the treatment of infertility. IVF treatment has been long in use to fertilize human eggs outside of the body and it is usually the first line of treatment. Although it has made an important role in the treatment of female infertility, it is not an effective treatment in severe male infertility.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an assisted fertilization procedure that has been introduced in 1992. In ICSI, a single mature egg is subjected to microinjection of a single sperm to achieve fertilization. Let’s begin with having a clear understanding of what IVF and ICSI are.
In-vitro fertilization: IVF has been used as a catch-all for all infertility treatments, but in reality, it’s aimed to help women with structural obstacles to fertility. It’s a solution to issues like damaged Fallopian Tubes, Low Egg Counts, Unsuccessful rounds of IUI, Unexplained infertility etc. In IVF, the ovaries are stimulated to develop multiple follicles after which the eggs are extracted from ovaries and the male partner is asked for a sperm sample either by masturbation or using the TESA procedure, in some cases. In the laboratory, if it’s a traditional IVF procedure, the extracted eggs and sperms are combined in a laboratory dish for natural fertilization to occur.
Conventional IVF was much less effective when the semen characteristics were grossly below the standard values regarding concentration, morphology or motility and when fertilization rates in previous cycles have been low. The risk of complete fertilization failure after conventional IVF was estimated 12.5% in normozoospermia and tubal factor infertility, 16.7% in unexplained infertility and up to 50% in astenozoospermia.
- Less invasive form of egg fertilization compared to ICSI
- Less chance of egg damage due to human manipulation error
- Natural selection of sperm – survival of the fittest
- Higher chance of Total Fertilization Failure
- No control over multiple sperm entry into the egg
- Not useful in couples with male infertility factor
- No information on egg maturity after retrieval
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, or ICSI, is one of the most potent techniques of insemination which is applied to achieve fertilisation. Here a single sperm is picked up with a fine glass needle and is injected directly into the egg. ICSI yields satisfactory fertilization results and helps reduce problems with abnormal fertilization caused by eggs and sperm – such as fertilization by multiple sperm and the inability of the sperm to penetrate the eggs (ZP) and fertilize, etc. The key difference between IVF and ICSI is how the sperm fertilizes the egg. In IVF, the egg and sperm (of which there are many) are left in a laboratory dish to fertilize on their own. In ICSI, the selected sperm is directly injected into the egg.
- Overcome male factor infertility (poor sperm count, motility and/or morphology, azoospermia)
- Higher number of normally fertilised eggs
- Able to perform egg quality assessment
- Ensures all eggs have the chance to be fertilised – no egg wastage
- May impose higher egg damage unless performed by an experienced and skilful Embryologist
- More invasive technique compared to conventional IVF
- Additional cost incurred
- Could inherit impaired testicular function of their father
IVF is suggested when the traditional methods of fertility treatments are unsuccessful. Whereas, ICSI initiates insemination in case of inexplicable fertility problems and poor surviving sperm cells. IVF is also more effective in the treatment of female infertility and has not been found very useful in treating male infertility. In terms of effectiveness, both treatments have proven to have similar success rates. If you are interested in knowing more or have decided to undergo any of these fertility treatments, get in touch with the specialists at Aaradhya Fertility Centre. Please do call us on 8886592229.