ICSI Treatment (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is another assisted reproductive technique and is almost identical to IVF; the difference is only the way of fertilizing the egg. It is one of the best procedures for treating male infertility and other problem in which fertilization of an egg is difficult. It significantly increases the chance of successful pregnancy and can also be used with IVF.

What is ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)?

ICSI stands for Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. It is a treatment used for infertility, especially when male infertility affects the ability to conceive a child. In this process, a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.

ICSI Treatment

How does ICSI Treatment Works?

There are two ways to fertilize an egg. One is traditional, and the other is ICSI. Traditional IVF sperm are placed next to the egg in a laboratory dish. And fertilization occurs when one of the sperm enters the egg’s cytoplasm.

Whereas ICSI treatment gives a more controlled approach to fertilization, this doctor selects an individual healthy-looking sperm and injects it directly into the egg with the help of a very fine glass needle called a micropipette.

So rather than hoping that each egg will be found and penetrated by a sperm, ICSI Treatment ensures a healthy sperm penetrate each egg. And once fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg, called the embryo, grows in a laboratory for one to five days and is then finally transferred to the woman’s uterus.

Related Post: What is IUI Treatment, and How Does it Works?

Why is ICSI Treatment Done?

ICSI Treatment is mostly helpful in cases of severe male infertility problems that may include the following: –

  • Low Sperm Count
  • Abnormally Shaped Sperm
  • Poor Sperm Quality
  • The Sperm has a problem attaching to the egg.
  • A male having a blockage in the reproductive tract
  • Failure of traditional IVF
  • Frozen eggs or sperm are being used that do not appear active
  • Use of matured eggs

What is the ICSI Treatment Procedure?

Following is the procedure of ICSI treatment: –

1. Ovulation Induction

The doctor will check the hormone level and will do an ultrasound to start the procedure. Then the medication injections are given for 8 to 14 days.

This helps your ovaries to produce multiple eggs at once to mature. And then, a Lupron or human chronic gonadotropin (HCG) injection is given to assist with the final maturation of the eggs.

2. Egg and Sperm Collection

The doctor will collect the egg from the ovaries by inserting a thin needle through the vagina into the ovary using transvaginal ultrasound technology to guide the insertion. It is done with a mild anesthetic, so there is no pain.

Sperm is also collected so that they can use the best quality sperm in the fertilization process.

3. Embryo Development

Until the embryo becomes, six to eight-cell embryos are kept in a laboratory and then on to strong blastocysts. Then the doctor will evaluate the blastocyst’s size and cell mass to determine when it’s most likely to lead to a pregnancy.

ICSI Treatment Procedure

4. Embryo Transfer

Once ready, the doctor and patients select an embryo to be transferred into the uterus. Your healthcare provider will insert a catheter into your vagina and inject the embryo into your uterus. For pregnancy to happen, the embryo needs to implant in your uterus. Your healthcare provider may recommend you wait for at least two weeks before taking a pregnancy test.

5. Pregnancy Test

To check hormone levels, the doctor will plan blood tests every three days after embryo transfer. And you can do a pregnancy test after 14 days of the transfer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

ICSI is very successful in terms of fertilization. The average fertilization success rate is between 50 to 80 per cent. However, fertilization does not des not tell the clinical pregnancy or live birth rates. Once the eggs are fertilized, IVF implantation rates for embryos conceived using ICSI are more or less the same as regular IVF treatment.

The cost of ICSI may vary from clinic to clinic. However, depending on the infertility problem, it can be between 2,00,000 to 5,00,000.

Following are the complications that may occur with ICSI: –

  • Increased chance of getting pregnant with multiple.
  • It can damage some or all eggs during needle penetration.
  • The embryo may not develop even after being inoculated with sperm.

It also has an impact on baby development, such as

Some of the issues can be genetic such as infertility. The male children conceived through ICSI might have the same infertility problems as their fathers.

So, it is best to discuss ICSI benefits and risks with your doctor as it may vary from person to person. The doctor will advise you only after studying your personal fertility history.

The process takes about 15 days in a fresh embryo transfer, where the embryo is transferred after it is ready. And for a frozen embryo transfer, the process is longer because we have to wait for the next menstruation cycle. Also, the medication is given to prepare the uterus for implantation.

No ICSI is not a painful treatment as sedation is used during egg collection, and anaesthesia is also given. But some patients may experience discomfort as their IVF process is involved.

Side effects may include mild vaginal bleeding, abdominal discomfort, and pelvic pressure.