Echoing what others have said, when they do the egg retrieval they retrieve (ideally) all the eggs that are within a certain ideal size range and considered "mature". They also do some prep of the sperm - I believe they separate it from the semen and get rid of the ones with poor morphology.
I have to say that when we were first struggling with IF, I said I would never do IVF. It seemed too forceful, too invasive, too meddling - it seemed so contrary to something I considered to be incredibly sacred.
So we tried some more, and some more and nothing. And I got to the place where I knew if we didn't try IVF I would always wonder "what if?". Along the way I realized that for me, even with all the medication and intervention and high tech that's involved, conception is no less sacred. Even as much as IVF is a science, it is still so unpredictable. There are no guarantees and a cycle that looks "perfect" may fail and cycle that looks like it's hanging on by a thread can come through with flying colors. I feel like there's still something bigger at work even when it feels like science is the only thing in control.
I have a good friend I met through MDC and she conceived her daughter using ICSI, where a specific sperm is injected into a specific egg. I am quite confident that she feels her daughter is as magical, amazing and miraculous as any child conceived with less intervention.
It is hard to let go of how we think things are "supposed" to be. I don't think anyone hopes they conceive their child in a petri dish. But I still believe that our children find us one way or another, even when technology helps them get here.
Lisa , married to Dan, mama to IVF miracle Natalie 5/20/09 :