Blog post written in collaboration with our partners IVF-Spain
When we decide to start looking into fertility treatments, we quickly find ourselves in the middle of an endless amount of information about different types of reproductive techniques. As confusing as all this information is, deciding on the right treatment is usually a task we leave to the professionals, trusting them to choose the right option for us. But it is also important to understand why a certain treatment is preferred to another.
That is why in today’s article IVF-Spain wants to help you understand the decision of your fertility specialist and explain to you the difference between a conventional IVF and an IVF with ICSI.
What is IVF
The first step is to understand what an IVF is.
IVF stands for In vitro fertilisation. It is one of the most-known fertility treatments with almost 9 Million IVF babies being born since 1978, around 300.000 of them in the UK.
The goal of an IVF is to obtain quality eggs and thus help fertilization and increase the chances of a pregnancy. During the IVF procedure oocytes are extracted from the ovaries of the patient or of an egg donor and later fertilized with semen (from her partner or a sperm donor) in the laboratory (in vitro).
Should a woman or a couple use donated eggs and semen, it is called a double donation IVF.
By being able to choose using own or donated gametes, In vitro fertilisation can help increase chances of pregnancy in cases of both male and female infertility.
Let’s talk about the IVF techniques
First off, we have conventional In vitro fertilisation (IVF). During a conventional IVF, the oocyte and sperm fertilise naturally. The embryologists’ job is to incubate the egg in a culture dish together with a drop of semen containing thousands of sperm. They do not actively induce fertilization. This is why a conventional IVF is the most natural way an egg can be fertilized during a fertility treatment and can only be performed if the semen quality is good.
On the other hand, we have the Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). During an IVF with ICSI, the embryologists play an important role. They help to fertilize the egg by selecting and microinjecting the best sperm directly into the oocyte. This way, the success rate is improved and gamete donors may not be necessary even when sperm quality is not ideal.
What we take from this explanation is that the most important difference between the two techniques is the way the oocyte is fertilised by the sperm. The rest of the procedure follows the same key steps which are:
Ovarian stimulation and follicular puncture
IVF or IVF with ICSI
Endometrial preparation and embryo transfer
Vitrification of non-transferred embryos
If oocyte and egg quality are good, a normal IVF will most likely be successful. But if sperm quality is not ideal, if the patient has had a vasectomy or has undergone chemotherapy or radiotherapy and when poor oocyte quality was present in previous cycles, IVF with ICSI is preferred to achieve the best results with as few attempts as possible.
As we have mentioned before, which technique would be recommended for your individual case is something you should consult personally with an expert specialised in reproductive medicine.
Through extensive tests using cutting-edge technology, fertility clinics such as IVF-Spain are able to identify what exactly causes the fertility issue and can determine how to address it successfully. The goal of every reputable fertility clinic is to give you the best treatment possible and successfully help you achieve your dream of becoming a parent.
Get to know IVF-Spain here and learn more about their way of working and their team.