What is ICSI?
ICSI stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. ICSI may be used as part of an IVF treatment. In normal IVF cycle, many sperms are placed together with an egg, in the hope that one of the sperm will enter and fertilize the egg. With ICSI, the embryologist takes a single sperm and injects it directly into an egg. For this, a specialized ICSI
machine is used. ICSI helps to improve fertilization rates when semen parameters are compromised and the chances of fertilization otherwise are reduced.
Why is ICSI Done?
ICSI is typically used in cases of severe male infertility, including:
- Very low sperm count (also known as oligospermia)
- Abnormally shaped sperm (also known as teratozoospermia)
- Poor sperm movement (also known as asthenozoospermia)
- Combined (teratoasthenozooazospermia)
- OATS (combined Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia)
If a man does not have any sperm in his ejaculate, but he is producing sperm, diagnosed by hormonal tests, sperms can be retrieved through testicular sperm extraction, or testicular sperm aspiration (TESE or TESA). Sperm retrieved through TESE or TESA require the use of ICSI for fertilization to happen.
ICSI is also used in cases of retrograde ejaculation in which the sperms are retrieved from the man’s urine.
ICSI may also be done if regular IVF treatment fails.
What is the procedure for ICSI?
As with conventional IVF, ovarian stimulating drugs are given along with ultrasound and hormone tests for monitoring. Once enough good-sized follicles have growth, eggs are removed from your ovaries with a specialized, ultrasound-guided needle.
Your partner will provide his sperm sample that same day (unless you’re using a donor sperm, or previously frozen sperm.)
Once the eggs are retrieved, an embryologist will place the eggs in a special culture, and using a microscope and tiny needle, a single sperm will be injected into an egg. This will be done for each egg retrieved.
If fertilization takes place, and the embryos are healthy, embryos are transferred to the uterus, via a catheter placed through the cervix, two to five days after the retrieval.