What is the difference between IVF and ICSI?

IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. It is a unique process of fertilization of egg cell using sperm outside the female womb. It is an in vitro process which gave birth to the first test tube baby Louise Brown in 1978. It is one of the most popular and majorly held treatments for infertility. On the other hand ICSI stands for Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This is the latest and the most potential technique of insemination which is applied to achieve fertilization irrespective of the sperm quality when In vitro fertilization fails.

In vitro fertilization is suggested by doctors when most of the other methods within the paradigm of reproductive technology fail. In in-vitro fertilization the ovulatory process is controlled through hormone manipulation. The female ova or eggs are removed from the female’s ovaries and there on allowed to fertilize with the sperm cells in some liquid medium. Once the fertilization is over, the zygote or the fertilized egg is introduced back into the female’s uterus aiming at the institution and beginning of a thriving pregnancy. On the other hand Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection comes in handy even when the male donor in the process suffers from infertility issues. In the contemporary age with the growing problem of infertility, this particular process of insemination is largely applied in cases where conventional in vitro fertilization may not occur or get easily suppressed. The common situations when ICSI is applied are as follows,

  • Idiopathic or inexplicable fertility
  • Hyper-responsive stimulation in the ovaries resulting in a reduced quality egg
  • Poorly surviving post-thaw sperm cells
  • Insemination of egg following thaw
  • Production of embryos for the purpose of pre-implantation to ensure genetic screening in case the embryos “clean” from any inappropriate infecting sperm
  • In case there is a severe need for maximizing the normal fertilization process

Though a much latter developed process, ICSI has already managed a number of successful births and is fast merging as one of the highly opted artificial insemination processes that people are choosing upon.

In case of in vitro fertilization there is no scope of any genetic disorder occurring in the zygote. But in case of ICSI, as even the sub-fertile sperm cells are used for insemination there is a chance that structural and numerical defects in the chromosomes may get carried. Hence prenatal screening is suggested.


  • IVF stands for in-vitro fertilization while ICSI stands for Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection.
  • In vitro fertilization is suggested when other traditional modes of reproductive technology don’t work. Whereas, ICSI initiates insemination in case of inexplicable fertility problems and poorly surviving sperm cells.
  • In IVF the zygote has less chances of carrying genetic disorder, while in ICSI chances of chromosome disorder are greater.