IVF means In Vitro Fertilization. ICSI means Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection. Many a times patients are confused between these two terms.
In Vitro literally means outside human body. Fertilization is the procedure where egg and sperm fuse together to form an embryo. When this process of fertilization happens outside human body, in a lab, then it is called as In Vitro Fertilization.
When IVF was invented, the process was very simple. The egg and sperm were incubated together in the IVF lab, so that they can fertilize together.
With scientific advances this fertilization could be caused using a machine called as micro manipulator. Using this machine one sperm is injected inside one egg to cause fertilization. This procedure is called as ICSI(Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
The process starts from Day 2 of menstrual cycle. After a baseline scan Gonadotropin injections are started for follicular growth. The injections are given daily for around 10 to 11 days. Follicular monitoring is done by ultrasound. Once the follicles reach required size, a trigger injection is given to cause follicular maturation. Egg collection is planned exactly 35 hours after the trigger. Egg collection is done under short general anaesthesia under sonographic guidance.
Husband is asked to give a fresh semen sample on that day. Alternatively frozen semen sample can be used. Each egg is injected one sperm using micro manipulator.
The resultant embryos are cultured for 3 to 5 days. If your hormonal levels are under control then a fresh embryo transfer can be planned. One or two best embryos are selected from the lot and are put inside the uterine cavity under sonographic guidance. This procedure usually does not require anaesthesia. Remaining surplus embryos are frozen for future use.
If the embryos which are put inside stick to the uterine wall and start growing the treatment is succesful. This is checked by a blood test named Beta HCG which is done 12-15 days after the Embryo transfer.