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What is ICSI?

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, commonly known as ICSI, is an advanced method performed as a part of IVF. ICSI increases the chance of successful fertilization. In conventional IVF, sperm and eggs are put together in petri dishes where the sperm fertilize the eggs on its own. While in ICSI procedure, the sperm is injected directly into the cytoplasm of egg hence, the increased rates of successful fertilization. This procedure was introduced to help couples, who are facing severe male factor infertility issues or have failed at IVF previously, to achieve successful pregnancy. Unlike IVF, in ICSI the best sperm is selected to achieve desired results.

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Why would I need ICSI?

Being an advanced treatment for infertility, ICSI treatment is recommended under particular circumstances. It is most often recommended to couples struggling with male factor infertility and is considered an effective treatment for it. ICSI may be recommended if any of the following circumstances exist:

  • Low sperm count
  • Poor sperm morphology (abnormally shaped sperm)
  • Poor sperm motility (abnormal sperm movement)
  • Failed fertilization attempts at conventional IVF
  • Unsuccessful conventional IVF treatment
  • Poor ovarian reserve
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Frozen sperm is being used
  • Frozen oocytes are used
  • If sperm is retrieved surgically
  • In case the couple needs to undergo embryo testing for some genetic condition i.e., PGD or PGS

ICSI is often recommended when the couple is going through severe infertility problems which cannot be treated successfully using other treatment methods. However, usually this technique is used to cope with male factor infertility.

Will ICSI work?

Through ICSI treatment, Australian Concept Infertility Medical Center has helped numerous infertile couples in realizing their dream of parenthood. A large number of couples, after receiving treatment at our IVF centers at Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore, have conceived and delivered healthy babies.

ICSI is quite helpful in successful fertilization when compared to conventional IVF. The successful fertilization rates of ICSI are exceptional as per the record, eight out of ten eggs are fertilized successfully through ICSI. While the success rate of ICSI and IVF are more or less same, the effectiveness of ICSI has been proved so many times in treating infertility. In addition to this, the success rate of ICSI treatment depends upon numerous factors such as:

  • Quality of sperm
  • Maternal age
  • Egg activation
  • Egg damage

ICSI has given great hope to couples struggling to conceive due to male factor infertility and it is for this reason that today, ICSI is being used vastly in medical centers around the world.

Increase your chance of Successful ICSI Treatment

In addition to other factors, following can help you increase your chance of successful fertilization:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight as BMI can impact IVF success rates
  • Reduce stress
  • Quit smoking/alcohol
  • Supplements as recommended by doctor
  • Adequate levels of vitamin D
  • Patience and Positive behavior
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Is ICSI Safe?

With every medical treatment comes a factor of risk, side effects and complications. Overall ICSI treatment is safe however, there are certain risks associated with it including the risk of birth defects which is slightly greater than that in normal pregnancy although it is rare. Besides, the risk of chromosome abnormality is also high as compared to normal conception such as learning disabilities, increased risk of miscarriage, etc. As per the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, ICSI is effective and safe treatment for infertility which can improve the chance of successful fertilization in couples with poor fertilization results in previous IVF cycles.

Risks Associated with ICSI

While the retrospective data also suggests that ICSI is safe but health risks to mother and child may include:

  • Multiple gestation
  • Preterm delivery
  • Congenital abnormalities in offspring
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Damage to egg while injecting sperm
  • Infertility may pass on to the offspring
  • Birth defects; rare
  • Development defects in infants

The increased risk of birth defects is due to infertility and not due to the treatment opted to overcome infertility. Particular conditions such as, angelman syndrome, hypospadias, etc., may occur in less than 1% of babies conceived using ICSI.

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Why ICSI is better than IVF?

ICSI yields better results in cases of male factor infertility. Research reveals that ICSI is as effective as IVF when there is no male factor infertility. Also, ICSI procedure allows the embryologist to select the best sperm. ICSI is considered as a right choice when the male partner has any sperm related problems. Moreover, ICSI has a clear advantage in successful fertilization over IVF. The rate of successful fertilization is significantly higher in ICSI treatment than that of conventional IVF.

Difference between IVF and ICSI

ICSI is performed as a part of IVF but there is a slight difference between the two procedures. The key difference between IVF and ICSI is the method of egg fertilization. In IVF, the eggs are fertilized when the sperm and eggs are put together in laboratory petri dishes and sperm fertilizes the egg on its own. In contrast to IVF, in ICSI the best sperm is selected which is injected directly to the cytoplasm of the egg. While the best candidates for conventional IVF are women under 35 years of age along with adequate ovarian reserve, ICSI is suitable for couples with male partner having sperm problems. ICSI is recommended as the final treatment for infertility when there is no possibility of achieving pregnancy through other treatments such as conventional IVF or IUI. However, it is to be noted that the chance of multiple pregnancies is higher in conventional IVF than in ICSI.

What is the Duration of ICSI?

The procedure of ICSI is divided into several stages which takes place over a span of four to six weeks. Hence, single ICSI cycle takes about four to six weeks for its completion.