ICSI Treatment: Here’s All You Need to Know

Before a man’s sperm is able to fertilize a woman’s egg, the head of the sperm must confer to the outside of the egg. Once it is attached, the sperm thrusts through the outer layer to the inside of the egg (cytoplasm), where fertilization happens.

Sometimes the sperm is unable to penetrate the outer layer, for one or many reasons. The egg’s outer layer might be thick or hard to penetrate or the sperm may be incapable of swimming. In these scenarios, a technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be performed in combination with in vitro fertilization (IVF) to fertilize the egg. During ICSI, a single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm (the egg).

How Does ICSI Treatment Work?

There are two ways that an egg might be fertilized by IVF: traditional and ICSI. In traditional IVF, 50,000 or more swimming sperms are positioned next to the egg in a laboratory dish. Fertilization happens when one of the sperms enters the cytoplasm of the egg. With ICSI treatment, a tiny needle, known as a micropipette, is used to insert a single sperm into the centre of the egg. With either traditional IVF or ICSI, once fertilization happens, the fertilized egg (now called an embryo) grows in a laboratory for 1-5 days before it is transported to the woman’s uterus (womb).

Who will Need ICSI?

ICSI helps to solve fertility problems, such as:

  • Low quantity of sperm for artificial insemination [intrauterine insemination (IUI)] or IVF.
  • Unnatural movement of sperm
  • Egg-attachment issues faced by the sperm
  • Blockage in the male reproductive tract that keeps the sperm from releasing
  • Non-fertilization of eggs by traditional IVF, irrespective of the condition of the sperm.

Does ICSI Work?

ICSI fertilizes 50%-80% of eggs. However, the following problems may be encountered during or after ICSI treatment:

  • Some or all the eggs may turn out to be spoiled.
  • The egg may not grow into an embryo even after it is inoculated with the sperm.
  • The embryo may stop developing.

Once fertilization happens, a couple’s chance of giving birth to a single baby, twins, or triplets is similar to that of IVF with or without ICSI.

Also, Read: Success Rate Of ICSI

Can ICSI impact Baby’s Development?

If a woman gets pregnant on her own, there is a 1.5% to 3% chance that the child will have a major birth defect. The probability of birth defects linked with ICSI is like IVF, but slightly higher than that of natural pregnancy.

The somewhat higher risk of birth defects may be due to the infertility and not the treatments used to treat the infertility. 

Some conditions have been linked with the use of ICSI, such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, sex chromosome abnormalities, Angelman syndrome, or hypospadias. They are thought to happen in far less than 1% of children conceived using this method.

Some of the issues that cause infertility might be genetic. For instance, male children conceived through ICSI might have the same infertility problems as their fathers.