Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI is an assisted fertilization process, very similar to conventional IVF. The difference between the two procedures is the method of achieving fertilization.
ICSI involves a laboratory procedure where a single sperm is picked up with a fine glass needle and is injected directly into each egg. Experienced embryologists use advanced equipment to carry out this procedure in an advanced laboratory. Very few sperm are required and the ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg is no longer important as this has been assisted by the ICSI technique. Once the steps of ICSI are complete and fertilization is successful, the embryo transfer procedure is used to physically place the embryo in the woman’s uterus. Then it is a matter of watching for early pregnancy symptoms. The fertility specialist may use a blood test or ultrasound to determine if implantation and pregnancy has occurred. ICSI does not guarantee that fertilization will occur as the normal cellular events of fertilization still need to occur once the sperm has been placed in the egg.
Circumstances in which ICSI may be appropriate include:
Doctors recommend ICSI only when the patient is unable to have a natural pregnancy. ICSI is most often used with couples who are dealing with male infertility factors. Male infertility factors can include any of the following:
- When the sperm count is very low
- When the sperm cannot move properly or are in other ways abnormal
- When sperm has been retrieved surgically from the epididymis (MESA/PESA) or the testes
- When there are high levels of antibodies in the semen
- When there has been a previous fertilisation failure using conventional IVF.
- Azoospermia (a condition where there is no sperm in the male’s ejaculation).There are two types of azoospermia: obstructive and non-obstructive. Obstructive azoospermia may be caused by:
- Previous vasectomy
- Congenital absence of the vas
- Scarring from prior infections
Non-obstructive azoospermia may occur when a defective testicle is not producing sperm. In the case of azoospermia, the probability of obtaining usable sperm is low, and the possibility of using donor sperm may be considered.
Health concerns during ICSI
Various studies point towards the fact that developing babies from pregnancies achieved through artificial insemination, and particularly ICSI, may face an increased risk for some birth defects, such as imprinting defects. The medical opinions on the other hand are divided equally, some fertility specialists agree with the survey results but a majority of others believe that rate of deficiencies in genes are similar to that of natural pregnancy. If you are trying to get pregnant and looking for assisted fertilization methods, we invite you to book a consultation with us so that we can help you choose the right way towards your healthy child.
What does ICSI involve?
It is more convenient if we describe the process of ICSI from a client’s perspective. From a client’s perspective, undergoing an ICSI treatment cycle is very similar to that of a conventional IVF cycle. The steps involved are:
- Stimulation of the ovaries to encourage development and maturation of the eggs.
- Mode of fertilization by injecting sperm into egg microscopically.
- Retrieval of the eggs
- Fertilisation of the eggs and culture of the embryos
- Transfer of the embryos back into the uterus.
How Successful is ICSI?
Chances of success vary between patients, particularly according to the age of the woman, but on average about 40%-50% of patients will have a baby after one attempt at ICSI.
The success rates of any assisted fertilization method donot decide one’s individual success, hence, it is important to go through the treatment if one really wants to experience parenthood. With the consultation of Dr. Sarita and the care of the team at Aaradhya Fertility Center you are just a few steps away from a healthy parenthood. Contact us at 8886592229 to book an appointment.