In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Intra Cytoplasmic Injection (ICSI) are two of the most common methods used to treat infertility when less expensive options have failed. Both procedures are almost similar. The major difference between the two procedures is with IVF once the sperm is introduced to the eggs in Petri dish, there is no further intervention whereas with ICSI, the sperm cell is carefully selected and injected into the egg.

IVF is used to overcome female infertility in the woman because of problems of the fallopian tube. The woman goes through ovarian stimulation and several eggs are taken to be put in a Petri dish to be fertilized by the sperms. While the embryos are still in the lab, IVF specialists can improve the ability of the embryos to implant in the womb.

IVF can be done although the woman has already gone through menopause. IVF can be used for surrogacy when the woman providing the egg isn’t the one who will carry the pregnancy to term. The fact that IVF can be done with a couple’s own eggs and sperms or with donor eggs, sperm or embryos can enable unmarried individuals, homosexual, or same sex couples have children.

However, if the couples wish to use the husband’s sperm but the man has either a low sperm count or poor quality of the sperm then Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), is the solution. The eggs are retrieved using the same method as in IVF. However, the eggs and the sperm will be fertilized in the laboratory by injecting a single sperm into each egg.

The fertilization rate per egg using ICSI is about 70% despite the sperm being poor quality or quantity. The resulting embryos will be placed into the womb just as with IVF. The fertilization rate per infertile couple is over 99% if the wife has enough eggs, and the pregnancy rate per treatment cycle is over 50%. This technique is very cost-effective, and it has the equal opportunity of getting pregnant as any couple with normal sperm. (Advance Fertility Center of Chicago)
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ICSI is the only opportunity for a man who is otherwise considered absolutely sterile and those who have had a vasectomy to get their wives pregnant. Without ICSI, they have to opt for donor sperm. Only a small number of weak sperm is more than enough to micro surgically inject these few sperm into his wife’s eggs, fertilize them normally, and get her pregnant. A testicle biopsy can also be conducted and if a few non-moving sperms are obtained, ICSI technique can be carried out.

In fact, many fertility centers are performing ICSI for all IVF cycles to obtain better fertilization rates and better results even when the husband’s sperm count is not impaired. The success rate of ICSI and IVF method are almost the same. Overall, IVF is cheaper than ICSI because it requires less laboratory work. Depending on the nature of a couple’s infertility and preferences, the specialist will recommend either the IVF or ICSI.