Help: What are IVF, IUI, and ICSI?

With advances in technology and infertility treatments, there are many options to chose from.  This is fantastic as infertility treatments are not and should not be one size fits all.  Navigating the ins and outs of infertility treatments can be difficult.  However, if you’ve found a great fertility specialist, they will help find the best fit for you to grow your family.  In the meantime, here’s the breakdown of three common infertility treatment acronyms to be aware of.


IVF is probably the most common standing for in vitro fertilization.  This is the process where egg and sperm, your own or a donor’s, is combined outside the body and then implanted.  IVF is a good option once fertility medications have been exhausted or there are biological factors limiting either partner from be able to provide their individual sexual gamete.


IUI stands for intrauterine insemination.  This is a procedure used when sperm counts are not ideal or when there is difficulty with intercouse.  It can be used with or without fertility medications.  The fertility specialist will thread a type of catheter to the uterus and inject pre-selected sperm.  These sperm have been selected for speed and virility in order to help increase the odds of conception.


ICSI is a procedure Celine Dion used with her husband in order to conceive their first child.  ICSI stands for intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection.  This procedure differs from standard IVF in that the fertility specialist will select a single healthy sperm and inject that sperm into the egg in a lab before implantation of the embryo.  This is ideal for men who have very low sperm counts or when previous rounds of IVF have been unsuccessful.