Intra-Ctyoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a form of IVF treatment which involves a sperm being directly injected into the egg rather than allowing them to swim naturally to the egg.
Unlike IVF, which was developed primarily to help infertile women with blocked fallopian tubes, ICSI is designed to tackle the problem of male infertility and is an option when the sperm quality is poor or where the semen has been previously provided and frozen.
After an initial semen analysis, Mr Julian Norman-Taylor will normally advise if ICSI is recommended to tackle one of the following problems:
- No sperm in the ejaculate (azoospermia)
- Low sperm count (oligozoospermia)
- Weak or slow-moving sperm (asthenozoospermia)
- Unusually high percentage of abnormal sperm (teratozoospermia)
- Anti-sperm antibodies, indicating an auto-immune problem
In some cases, ICSI may be recommended where the reasons for infertility are unknown or it may also be used as a treatment when a vasectomy reversal has been unsuccessful.
What is the ICSI process?
Like standard IVF treatment, eggs are removed from the woman’s body and fertilised with sperm that has recently been produced by the man (usually within an hour). From a patient’s perspective, the process will seem the same as IVF although the work carried out in the laboratory to fertilise the egg is different and will require more specialist expertise.
The eggs have the outer layer stripped and then the most suitable sperm are chosen by the embryologist for injecting directly into the egg itself. This is a delicate operation which requires a micro -manipulator, a tool for arranging the sperm to be injected head first. There is a small failure rate (under ten per cent) in the eggs that have been chosen.
The injected eggs are incubated for approximately 24 hours and then checked to see how many have fertilised. Normally, the success rate it similar to IVF at 60 per cent and over 90 per cent of couples undergoing the treatment can expect at least one of their eggs to be fertilised.
From this point, the same procedure as IVF is followed, as the egg is returned to the woman’s body where it should implant in the wall of the uterus and create a pregnancy. This will not be accurately testable for 14 days.
Is surgery necessary?
Surgery is not normally required for the male who generally be asked to provide samples of the ejaculate at the assessment stage and then at the same time as the eggs are being removed from the female. However, it may be necessary to carry out a surgical sperm retrieval the day before the procedure. This is normally only required where there is no sperm in the ejaculate and Mr Julian Norman-Taylor will advise you of what is required after a comprehensive fertility assessment.
Is the cost of ICSI the same as IVF?
No, the cost is higher for ICSI because the procedure is more technically involved and requires more expertise and equipment, than the standard IVF procedure. Before beginning any fertility treatment with Chiltern Fertility, the costs and benefits of the various treatments will be fully discussed with you so an informed decision can be made.
At Chiltern Fertility, we offer fertility assessments and a full range of treatments. To arrange a consultation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 782856. Alternatively, fill in the contact form and one of the team will be in touch.