The Basics of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)


What it is:
ICSI is a cutting-edge technique that’s used with in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to help increase your chances of a successful cycle. By injecting a sperm directly into an egg, instead of waiting for natural fertilization as with IVF, ICSI may offer a solution to your infertility issues.
Who it treats:
At the CNY Fertility Centers, all couples are encouraged to consider ICSI. Those who are most likely to benefit from ICSI with IVF treatment either suffer from unexplained infertility or have undergone an IVF cycle that resulted in low or no fertility. Also, if the male’s semen sample does not fall within “normal” parameters, ICSI could help conception. Medical conditions that affect the quality or quantity of a man’s sperm include poor sperm motility (athenzoospermia), abnormally shaped sperm (teratozoospermia), and low numbers of sperm in the ejaculate (oligospermia). ICSI can even allow a man who has had a vasectomy to fertilize a woman’s egg.
How it works:
Since ICSI is always accompanied by IVF, the treatment begins by planning for IVF. In preparation for IVF, the woman will take fertility drugs in order to stimulate healthy follicle production. After careful monitoring and assessment of the follicles, eggs will be retrieved from the woman’s ovaries.
Following egg collection, ICSI treatment will differ from IVF. Instead of placing the sperm and egg together in hopes of natural fertilization, an embryologist will inject the man’s sperm directly into the egg. The fertilized egg then develops in an incubator for several days before being transferred, now as an embryo, back into the woman’s uterus.
For fertilization, it is preferable to extract sperm from a semen sample since it’s less invasive. If this is not possible due to a medical condition or past procedure, an embryologist may use needle aspiration by inserting a very gentle, hollow needle into the testicles to immobilize and retrieve sperm. If neither of these options is possible, a testicular biopsy may be performed under anesthetic.
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