ICSI has been the development of Advanced technologies from Modern science. With a single goal of fertility in mind, ICSI has come a long way to help couples with treatment options. Male infertility with low sperm count was an hindrance. Couples dependant of donor sperm have been able to conceive their biological child through this procedure of IVF.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an IVF procedure where fertilization of the egg is achieved through a radical approach. Fertilization usually occurs when a sperm attaches itself to the egg and penetrates through the outer layer. If the sperm fails to penetrate the egg ICSI can be done along with IVF to achieve pregnancy.
In ICSI procedure, a single sperm is picked and is injected directly into the egg.
ICSI is performed by an highly trained embryologists using specialized instruments. Even Though ICSI is a precise procedure, for fertilization to occur, requires a combination of cellular events to take place.
In IVF procedure, an egg is fertilized in two ways. In the traditional procedure, more than 50,000 sperms are placed close to an egg in a laboratory dish in precise laboratory conditions. Here fertilization occurs when a sperm penetrates and enters the Cytoplasm of an egg.
In ICSI, a small needle called a Micropipette Micropipette is used to inject the sperm directly into the egg.
In both cases, once the fertilization occurs, the embryo is allowed to grow in the lab for one to five days, then is transferred to a woman’s uterus for further development.
ICSI is the part of the IVF cycle which includes the same initial steps as IVF.
When it is determined that it is difficult to achieve fertilization, ICSI is recommended. When male infertility is the leading cause also ICSI is recommended. ICSI is advised only when the sperm cannot fertilize the egg by itself.
Conditions, when ICSI procedure is recommended are:
When you have unexplained infertility or failure of fertilization in previous IVF cycles, the ICSI procedure can bring success. IVF definitely increases the chances of fertilization.
ICSI Procedure Explained
ICSI procedure is performed by a skilled embryologist. It is done along with IVF in a laboratory.
The sperms need to be collected from the male partner. In cases of low sperm count, it can be done through normal ejaculation.
When this is not possible, needle aspiration or microsurgical sperm retrieval is performed. It is an easy and quick procedure where a tiny needle is used to extract the sperms directly from the testes. This procedure is performed under sedation.
Post-procedure, one might experience pain and swelling.
In this procedure, Women are given fertility medications to produce several matured eggs. These eggs are retrieved from the vagina using vaginal ultrasound, under anaesthesia.
They are then incubated in the laboratory under precise conditions.
Once fertilization occurs, the ICSI procedure is complete. The next step involves transferring the embryo to the woman’s uterus in two to five days. You will wait for fifteen days to take a pregnancy test. Your fertility specialist will do blood tests and ultrasound to confirm pregnancy.
On an average it takes four to six weeks to complete one cycle of ICSI. You and your partner will be asked to stay for half a day in the hospital for egg and sperm retrieval process.
After three to five days, you will be called for embryo transfer(ET). If embryo transfer is planned next month or with a fresh cycle, then you will be called accordingly.
The success rate of ICSI varies with every case. 70 to 80 % of the eggs get fertilized by ICSI. Success rates are similar to IVF performed in a traditional way.
When you get pregnant naturally, there is a 1.5% to 3% chance of a major birth defect in the baby. When it comes to ICSI, the chances of some birth defects is similar to IVF but slightly higher than the natural conception.
. Also, this defect may actually be due to the cause of infertility and not due to the treatment procedure.
There are some chromosomal abnormalities associated with ICSI, but it may be seen in less than 1% of children. There appears no difference in the embryo quality achieved through ICSI or normal IVF.
ICSI procedure can be demanding both physically and emotionally for the couples. Once conception takes place, you may have to take regular medications, injections, and may have to undergo regular blood tests to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
At times it becomes painful and we may face many physical challenges but we need to need to remain positive.
ICSI is a very complex procedure. It is performed by specially trained embryologists. In cases of severe male infertility, ICSI significantly increases the chances of pregnancy.
Whether you have low sperm count or ejaculation problems, by discussing with your fertility specialists you can understand the treatment procedures available to solve such cases.