- The talented and highly trained doctors at the Fertility Institute use a number of methods to help women faced with fertility issues conceive.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be combined with in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help give you and your partner the very best chance of conceiving.
- ICSI, which involves injecting a single sperm into a single egg, is an advanced technique that may be recommended to help patients conceive in spite of conditions like male infertility.
Improving your chances with ICSI – preparation
To understand how ICSI works, it is important to first understand the IVF process. The first step of IVF involves retrieving the woman’s eggs and the male’s sperm. In most cases, the semen sample is collected through manual stimulation, but sperm can also be surgically collected through a small incision in the testicle.
Prior to the egg retrieval procedure, a woman will need to receive daily hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. This condition is known as super-ovulation. A second round of injections will prompt the ovary follicles to fully develop, allowing the doctor to use laparoscopy or needle aspiration to retrieve the mature eggs.
During a traditional IVF procedure, the eggs are combined with the sperm in a laboratory dish, allowing the sperm to penetrate the eggs as they would during natural conception. What sets ICSI apart is the way the eggs and sperm interact once they have been retrieved.
What is ICSI?
As its name implies, ICSI refers to the injection of a sperm into an egg. Using high-powered magnification, we can use specialized tools to securely grasp the egg, penetrate it, and deposit a sperm cell within its center. The sample will be allowed to culture in a lab overnight and is later checked for evidence that fertilization has successfully occurred. The fertilized egg can then be transferred to the uterus or allowed to develop for 3-5 days, growing to become zygotes or blastocysts, before they are implanted. Afterwards, patients must freeze (cryopreserve) remaining embryos.
Benefits and considerations for ICSI
ICSI is particularly effective in helping couples who are affected by severe male infertility when little or no motile sperm naturally occur within the ejaculated semen. It may be recommended if previous rounds of IVF have proven unsuccessful.