I’ve been exporting and testing tons of SVGs from both Illustrator and Sketch in the last few months, and I no longer think that AI’s SVG export is better than Sketch’s. It definitely used to be, but much has changed in the past year. Both apps have little quirks and bugs—and neither is immune to a graphic that simply can’t be constructed in SVG.
I’m using embedded SVG spritesheets in several projects currently, and they’re working well. Here are several resources that might help with the implementation: