Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection(ICSI)

ICSI is a procedure whereby one sperm is injected directly into an egg for fertilization purposes. It is done in conjunction with an IVF treatment. The injection takes place in the lab, after the eggs have been retrieved.

When is it used?
ICSI is used in cases of male infertility. It is quite effective when the male partner has a low sperm count or the sperm has poor motility. It is also used when a man has ejaculation issues and the sperm has to be retrieved either surgically from the testes (mesa/pesa), or in the case of retrograde ejaculation (ejaculating into the bladder) since the sperm must be recovered from the urine. ICSI is also often indicated where fertilization failed in a previous cycle of IVF.

What to Expect:
From a patient perspective, ICSI is exactly the same as undergoing a regular cycle of IVF. The difference is that in conventional IVF several sperm are placed in a dish with the eggs to allow fertilization to occur naturally, where as with ICSI, one sperm is injected directly into the egg with the hope of fertilization occurring.

The main complications associated with ICSI are actually those that arise from the IVF procedure itself. These include ovarian hyperstimulation, multiple birth, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and stress. Patients often question if there is a higher risk of birth defects when ICSI is used. To date, research shows that the risk of birth defects after ICSI is the same as for babies conceived by IVF without ICSI. However, some studies have suggested that having IVF with or without ICSI might increase the risk for birth defects.

Success Rates:
ICSI greatly improves the odds of fertilization. Approximately 70% to 85% of eggs are fertilized when using the ICSI procedure. This does not mean that all of the eggs will develop into embryos that are suitable for transfer.