What is an Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) procedure all about?
An intracytoplasmic sperm injection procedure is used to counter the obstacle of male infertility in a couple. This method uses a technique that injects a single sperm into the woman’s egg directly to promote conception and pregnancy.
This method is not only used as a counter for male infertility but also useful when the egg cannot be reached by the sperms naturally due to any other reason.
How is an Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) performed?
An intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is basically an ‘assisted reproductive technology (ART) that is used to treat sperm-related infertility problems.
ICSI is useful to enhance the fertilizing phase in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique through the injection of a single sperm into an extracted fully mature egg. This successfully egg is then placed in the woman’s fallopian tube or uterus.
The ICSI procedure is done in the following manner:
The sperm is collected from the male partner after a sample of the sperm has been checked for any kind of genetic defect that might hinder fertilization.
Also known as ovulation, the doctor will suggest the use of gonadotropin, a ‘follicle stimulating hormone’ (FSH), to increase the rate of ovulation. The doctor will use ultrasound techniques and check your blood-estrogen levels to determine if the eggs are maturing in the follicles after the first week.
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The doctor will then collect these fully matured eggs using a laparoscope or a needle through the belly.
Injection & Transfer
A glass dish is used to hold the egg in place while a tiny glass tube injects the egg with a single sperm. This is done in multiple eggs for more chances of successful fertilization. The doctor then chooses around 2-4 eggs that have been successfully incubated for around 3-5 days and place them in the uterus using a catheter (thin flexible tube) by inserting it through the cervix.
What are the risks and benefits of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) procedure?
There is the main benefit of a couple having a successful pregnancy in case the male partner suffers from impaired sperm count or any other sperm-related disorder. The IVF method using ICSI is known to have 25-30% chances of a successful birth.
There are certain risks that are associated with an ICSI procedure as well, such as:
- Hyper-stimulation syndrome – This is often the result of super-ovulation. The doctor can help avoid this by closely monitoring the hormone levels and the ovaries during treatment.
- Multiple pregnancies – The risk of multiple pregnancies from occurring is related to the number of matured embryos that are injected in the uterus.
A woman above the age of 35 years is likely to require more eggs to be transferred to her ovaries to increase the chances of conceiving successfully. This can also result in the risk of multiple pregnancies from occurring at times.
To reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies the doctor will take into account your age and certain other relevant factors to determine the best and safest number of eggs that should be transferred to your ovaries for a safe pregnancy.
ICSI has been helping a great number of couples to have safe pregnancies that were previously not possible because of sperm-related problems. This is also considered to be one of the safest and most effective method of IVF today.