Assisted reproductive technology – IVF and ICSI

Assisted reproductive technology – IVF and ICSI

Sofat Infertility & Women Care Centre Ludhiana: ART (Assisted reproductive technology) has reached new milestones. New techniques are being incorporated to ensure that infertile couples get the good news they have been longing to hear.


IVF is a technique in which the egg and the sperm are taken out from the respective partners. This is followed by the fusion of both the entities in a controlled environment in the lab. If successful, fertilization follows. These embryos are transplanted into the uterus of the woman. Usually, IVF is used in case of female infertility and ICSI is used in case of male infertility.

Procedure of IVF

IVF consists of various stages –

Hormone stimulation –

The doctors stimulate the ovaries of the woman to produce more eggs in her ovulation cycle. These drugs are injectable.

Egg retrieval –It refers to the stage of retrieval of eggs when the woman produces eggs and they are mature enough. The sperms are also retrieved from the male partner or the sperm donor if required.

Embryo development –The sperms and the eggs are allowed to interact with each other and fertilize. Many sperms are used to fuse with many eggs so that multiple embryos may be produced.

Embryo transfer –The best embryos are screened and transferred to the woman’s uterus. The embryos are selected based on observation which is undertaken for 3-5 days.

Clinical pregnancy –Two weeks after the implantation, the woman is asked to get her blood tested for pregnancy. In case the pregnancy is reported, it means that the treatment has been successful. In case the woman reports a clinical pregnancy, she is told to come after two weeks for an ultrasound. This is done to check the progress of the pregnancy. In case the pregnancy is not reported, the woman is required to wait for her next period before she can decide about undergoing another cycle. In case she had her embryos frozen in the last cycle, she will not require ovary stimulation and egg extraction again.

Live Birth –In case the pregnancy is successful and all goes well, the woman gives birth to a live baby. A baby born by this process is called a test-tube baby.


It is the technique in which the sperm is directly injected into the egg using a syringe. One sperm is injected into 1 egg; therefore, this process needs a lesser number of sperms.

Which one to choose?

Whether you choose IVF or ICSI or both, it depends on your circumstances and medical history.

Health effects of IVF and ICSI

Both the procedures are safe and it is rare that it leads to medical complications. However, there may be some risks –

1. Excessive reaction to fertility drugs

2. Chances of multiple births (twins and triplets)

3. Preterm labor accompanied by low birth weight

4. An increased risk of birth defects compared to spontaneously-conceived babies

Cost of IVF and ICSI

Normal IVF will cost lesser than IVF with ICSI. The chances of the process being successful increase with the use of ICSI. It proves to be beneficial in cases where the sperm is unable to penetrate the egg easily on its own. Some insurance companies offer help for infertility treatments while some do not.