Intra cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is performed as an additional part of an IVF treatment cycle where a single sperm is injected into each egg to assist fertilisation using very fine micro-manipulation equipment. In most cases, ICSI can be used to overcome severe male infertility.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is recommended for couple’s who have been diagnosed with male fertility issues such as low sperm count, low sperm morphology or motility, anti-sperm antibodies or have previously had a vasectomy or unsuccessful vasectomy reversal.
We can also use this technique for couples who have experienced poor or no fertilisation rates using standard IVF.
There are five main steps to the ICSI procedure:
- A sperm sample is taken from your partner’s semen or surgically extracted from his testes or epididymis.
- Your eggs are surgically extracted from your ovaries.
- Using a tiny hollow needle, one sperm is carefully injected into an egg.
- After injection, the fertilized egg is observed for growth and development.
- Once normal growth is observed, the embryo will be implanted into your uterus where it has a chance to implant and grow.
Some fertility clinics choose to use fresh sperm that have just been extracted, while others prefer to do the ICSI procedure with frozen sperm. There appears to be no difference in pregnancy rates between those who use fresh or frozen sperm during the ICSI process.
Potential risk involved – There is no convincing evidence that the rate of birth defects in children born from the ICSI process is any different to the general population. However there is slight increase in the chance that a male child born from the ICSI process will also have a male fertility issue.
- Your eggs may become damaged.
- The embryo might fail to grow after the fertilization.
- Some people speculate that the ICSI process might lead to higher rates of genetic defects compared to other fertility treatments. But, the birth defects most commonly associated with ICSI can usually be fixed with surgery.
ICSI and male infertility
The ICSI procedure can help you achieve IVF pregnancy success even when male infertility problems are an issue. If your male partner has experienced any of the following problems, talk to your doctor about ICSI:
- Absence of sperm in the semen, possibly caused by a blockage.
- Low sperm count, poor sperm quality and/or abnormal sperm shape and movement.
- Sperm unable to penetrate through the outer layer of your egg or production of antisperm antibodies.