Infertility is a growing problem all over the world. However, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just women who face the problem. It is the same for the men too. It has been observed that there are more cases of men visiting the clinic with the issue as compared to the women.
Some treatments have gained popularity in the field of medical science and are being used extensively. ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is one such treatment that is used along with In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to treat sperm-related infertility issues.
What is ICSI?
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is an ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) which is used to enhance the fertilization phase of In-Vitro Fertilization by injecting a sperm into an egg.
It is an efficient method to fertilize the eggs in an IVF lab after they have been aspirated from a female.
In this process, specialized tools and microscopes are used to select and pick up the selected sperms for the further procedure. With the aid of a specially designed needle, the outer wall of the egg is penetrated, and the sperm is inserted into the inner part (cytoplasm) of the egg. These steps are observed along with conventional IVF process.
Who is ICSI Recommended for?
ICSI is suggested for couples who have had poor or no fertilization during standard IVF process or for males with:-
- Abnormality in shape of the sperm
- Low motility sperms
- Low levels of sperms count
- Blockage in sperm release due to vasectomy
- High level of antibodies which destroy the sperms in the semen
ICSI takes place during the IVF process. It is useful for the couples who are dealing with male infertility issues, and couples who have had unsuccessful IVF in the past.
There are four steps to the ICSI procedure which include:-
- A sperm sample is taken from male’s semen or surgically extracted from his testes or epididymis, and eggs are taken from woman’s ovaries.
- With the help of the tiny needle, the sperm is injected into the egg like in In-Vitro Fertilization process.
- After the injection of the sperm, the fertilized egg is observed for growth and development.
- Once the healthy development is seen, only then the embryo is ready to be implanted in the uterus.
- This completes the procedure of ICSI.
Problems during ICSI procedure
Issues during ICSI procedure are rare, but can still occur. Here are some potential issues that could arise during the method:-
- embryo growth may not take place following fertilization process
- it may damage the sperms
Risks associated with ICSI
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is a very safe method, but still, there are rare chances of risks. Such as:
- Chances of genetic and developmental defects in few children born with the help of this process
- Risk of Miscarriage because of poor quality of sperm
- Low Sperm count due to Genetic problem may pass on to the male child
Fertilization and pregnancy success rates with ICSI
The success rate of In Vitro Fertilization with ICSI may vary according to the specifics of the individual case, the skill of the person doing the procedure, the overall state of the lab, the nature of the eggs, and the embryo transfer abilities of the infertility specialist physician.
- Fertilization rates: Most IVF plans see that about 70-85% of eggs injected using ICSI process become fertilized.
- The rate of successful pregnancy using IVF with the ICSI is much higher than the IVF without ICSI.
ICSI – A significant advancement in Medical Science
It is quite remarkable that doctors and scientists have made such amazing findings with assisted reproductive technology fertility treatments as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. It is interesting that we now have the capacity to fertilize an egg with just one sperm, managing many infertile couples to get pregnant.