Procedure and Risks of ICSI Treatment

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI is the process of injecting healthy sperm directly into the matured eggs. The ICSI treatment is generally used, along with IVF, when there are repeated IVF cycle failures, and also when the quality or mobility of the semen is a problem in couples trying artificial insemination. The process allows the sperm to be injected directly into the center of the egg. 

What Is the Aim of ICSI?

The ICSI procedure is done with an objective of achieving successful fertilization in couples, where severe male infertility exists. The treatment is also effectively used in situations when the IVF attempts fail two or three times. By injecting the sperm into the center of the egg, the possibility of fertilization is enhanced through ICSI. The failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts made earlier can find ICSI used in conjunction with IVF removes the hindrances of low mobility of the sperm and makes fertilization possible. This gives hope to couples who want to give birth to the baby of their own.

What Is the Procedure of ICSI Treatment?

The ICSI process asks for more matured eggs, so the egg donor need to undergo ovarian stimulation and have fertility medications to stimulate and develop numerous matured eggs.  The matured eggs are retrieved from the follicles with the help of a vaginal ultrasound. Then the eggs are incubated in an embryology laboratory. At the same time, the semen sample is centrifuged or ‘washed” to remove fluids and other impurities and debris of dead sperm through a special medium. This way the most active live sperm is separated and injected into the egg.  The embryologist works on it very carefully with a glass needle to inject the sperm into the center of each egg. 

Also, Read: What is ICSI Infertility Treatment

Who Needs ICSI Treatment?

The ICSI process is necessary for the male factor with infertility and abnormal semen analysis and low sperm mobility, but more than 70 percent of the IVF cases choose ICSI to enhance the chances of successful fertilization. Other than these, ICSI is opted for the reasons such as: 

  • Inconstant sperm counts
  • Poor fertilization result with IVF
  • Unexplained infertility

The patients with any abnormalities in the sperm results should seriously consider doing the ICSI treatment or the male partner, who have undergone vasectomy reversal surgery, he should go for ICSI, regardless of the sperm quality test result as the reason that the antibodies present in the sperm will affect the quality of the sperm and fertilization process. Males with no prior evidence of infertility may also sometimes be suggested to ICSI treatment to have any possibilities of fertilization. In addition, the couples with normal sperm quality and counts can also opt this method to achieve maximum success in fertilization.

Apart From the Male Infertility Cases, ICSI Is a Good Option for Situations:

  • When the previous IVF cycles have very few fertilized eggs. For example, when the previous IVF cycles have no or fewer fertilized eggs notwithstanding there are sufficient matured eggs and disposal of healthy sperm, you will be suggested to go for ICSI with the IVF cycle. This will increase the chances of pregnancy.  
  • When the frozen sperm are used for the IVF cycle, ICSI treatment is recommended as the thawed sperm is not active. Using the ICSI method in frozen sperm gives the same pregnancy success rate as with the fresh ones.
  • For genetic screening using preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). The ICSI procedure is recommended for the IVF method owing to the genetic factors of other sperms present around the embryo. This will not give you the correct result. When ICSI method is used to fertilize the egg, only the genetic factor of the injected sperm will the egg contain. Furthermore, this will reduce the chance of passing problematic genetic condition to the baby.  So, the IVF with PGD procedures suggest only ICSI for fertilization.

What Is the Success Rate of ICSI?

The couples with male factor difficulty have attained a pregnancy rate of more than 70 to 80 percent using the ICSI procedure. More than 7-8 eggs out of 10 injected eggs are fertilized through this method, which is equivalent to the fertilization attained with normal sperm. 

Is There Any Risk Factor Involved in the ICSI Procedure?

There are several risks involved in this procedure. The most significant one is during the needle insertion, where about 5 percentage of eggs may rupture or damage. Next, risk is out of 8 in 1000 babies, who may have some chromosomal abnormality in the X or Y chromosomes.  

Will All the Eggs Be Injected?

When it comes to the ICSI treatment, all matured eggs will be injected with the sperm. This involves as many eggs as possible. The experienced microbiologists can tell you which egg is matured and which is not and will choose the best matured eggs for ICSI.

Also, Read: Things You Need to Know About ICSI