IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. It refers to the process by which a woman’s eggs are collected and then fertilized outside her womb in the laboratory.
This is done in a Petri dish (“in vitro” is Latin for “in glass”) where the collected eggs are kept and the washed semen containing sperms is added to it so that one of the sperms fertilizes the egg.
The fertilized eggs (embryos) are cultivated and grown in the laboratory and after appropriate growth, they are transferred back to the uterine cavity.
What is ICSI?
ICSI is a form of gamete (sperm and egg) micromanipulation that involves the direct injection of a single sperm into the cytoplasm (inside portion) of an oocyte (egg).
ICSI is an acronym for “Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection” – which is a long, fancy way of saying “inject sperm into the middle of the egg”.
ICSI is a very effective method to get fertilization of eggs in the IVF lab after they have been retrieved from the female partner.
IVF with ICSI involves the use of specialized micromanipulation tools and equipment and inverted microscopes that enable embryologists to select and then pick up individual sperms in a tiny specially designed hollow ICSI needle. The sperms are first inactivated by breaking their tails. (Hence ICSI is mostly used in males with severe motility disorder, severe asthenozoospermia)
Then the needle is carefully advanced through the outer shell of the egg and egg membrane and the sperm is then injected into the inner part (cytoplasm) of the egg. This will usually result in normal fertilization in approximately 70-85% of eggs injected with viable sperm.
Fig. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Who requires IVF?
Couples who require IVF include:
Women with tubal diseases like blocked tubes, hydrosalpinx, and previous tubectomy done.
Patent tubes but non functional like in previous pelvic inflammatory disease or tubal tuberculosis.
Infertility due to endometriosis.
Infertility due to male factor likeoligospermia ( low count), asthenozoospermia (less motility), teratozoospermia (abnormal sperms) or a combination of abnormalities like oligoasthenoteratozoospermia.