If you are someone struggling with infertility, then there are fertility treatments that can help you increase the chances of having a baby. A big thanks to technology, there are many ways to help people with all kinds of fertility-related problems. The options that are considered best for you depends on your personal situation and the causes related to infertility.
Sometimes, only of the partners need the treatment and the other times, both the partners have to undergo a combination of treatments together. In vitro fertilization(IVF) and Intracytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI) are two of the most common infertility treatment.
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization(IVF) is a fertilization process in which an egg combines with a sperm outside the body.
During IVF, mature eggs are fertilized by sperm in an incubator or laboratory. Then, after two to five days, the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs(embryos) are transferred into the women’s uterus. One full cycle of this process can take about three weeks and sometimes longer.
IVF can be done using your own egg and your partner’s sperm. Or it may involve eggs, sperms, or embryos from an unknown or known donor. In some cases, a gestational surrogate- a woman who carries and delivers a baby for another couple may be used.
Before you decide to perform IVF to treat infertility, go for less-invasive options such as fertility drugs in order to increase the production of eggs or intrauterine insemination.
At times, IVF is preferred as a primary treatment for infertility issues in women (above 40 years old). IVF may also be considered as an option if one among the partner has the following problems:
- Fallopian tube damage or blockage. This particular problem makes it difficult for an egg to be fertilized or for an embryo to travel to the uterus.
- Uterine fibroids. They are benign tumours that grow in the wall of the uterus. This issue is common in women in their 30s and 40s. Uterine fibroids can also interfere with the implantation of the fertilized egg.
- Endometriosis. This occurs when the uterine tissue implants and grows outside the uterus. It often affects the function of ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.
- Previous tubal sterilization or removal. If you had a tubal ligation before and still wish to conceive, IVF may be an alternative.
- Ovulation disorders. The condition in which ovulation is infrequent or absent.
- Impaired sperm production or function. Abnormalities in sperm size and shape,weak poor sperm movement, and below-average sperm concentration make it difficult for a sperm to fertilize an egg. If semen abnormalities are found, then, your partner should consult a specialist to determine whether or not these are correctable problems.
A genetic disorder. If the male or female partner is at risk of passing a genetic disorder to the child, then they are considered as candidates for preimplantation genetic testing. This is a procedure that involves IVF. The harvested and fertilized eggs are screened for certain genetic problems. Embryos that do not contain any identified problems can be transferred to the uterus.
Fertility preservation for cancer or any other health conditions. Cancer treatments, including radiation or chemotherapy, can be danger for your fertility. In such a case, IVF for fertility preservation may be a preferable option.
The chances of having a healthy baby using IVF process depend on many factors. This includes your age and the infertility causes. IVF can also be time-consuming, invasive, and expensive. If more than one egg is transferred into the uterus, it results in multiple pregnancy.
Your doctor can help you understand how IVF works, its potential risks and whether this method of infertility treatment is right for you.
What is ICSI?
To have a realistic fertilization chance, at least around 10000 sperms must be placed in conventional IVF. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an IVF procedure that involves the process of injecting a single sperm directly into each egg.
The ICSI treatment can be considered as an appropriate treatment for the couples where the man has a low number of normal and motile sperm.
This is because only a small number of sperms are used for this treatment. ICSI is recommended for couples who failed in the previous IVF treatment, as well as couples where the male partner has the following problems:
- Low sperm count
- Abnormally shaped sperms
- Poor motility of sperms
- If you had undergone IVF previously and failed
- If the male partner does not ejaculate any sperm, but sperms have been collected from the testicles.
- An unsuccessful vasectomy reversal
Similarities Between IVF and ICSI Infertility Treatment
The Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is similar to that of In vitro fertilization as the sperms and eggs are collected from each donor or partner. On the egg collection day, an embryologist inseminates the eggs.
The eggs are kept and monitored in an incubator for about five days, and the best embryos are transferred into the womb for implantation.
How They Differ?
IVF was the first developed infertility treatment. ICSI later evolved from IVF and can be considered as the variation of the earlier method. In IVF, the egg as well as the sperm are left in a petri dish dish to fertilize on their own. In ICSI, the selected sperm is injected directly into the egg.
Which is better, IVF or ICSI?
IVF treatment is the most advertised and well known than any other fertilization technique. This is why most people hardly know about ICSI treatment. ICSI treatment is perceived to be more technical by some fertility experts than the IVF because it ensures fertilization.
A majority of infertility patients directly opt for IVF and turn to ICSI when various IVF cycles fail. Unless the underlying infertility issues are as mentioned below, the fertility experts directly recommend the patients for IVF.
- Abstracted or blocked sperm movement
- Erection and Ejaculation issues
- Low or no sperm count
- Unsuccessful treatments
- Seen as the best treatment
Deciding whether or not to undergo infertility treatment is not an easy task. There are many types of treatment available, along with many things to consider. Do a lot of research before you start making the big decisions in choosing between IVF and ICSI treatment.
If you tried to conceive for over two or more years and still failed, then it’s high time that you talk to a doctor. Only a doctor can give you a detailed insight about your fertility issues.