What is ICSI

ICSI treatment process was introduced in the year 1992 to improve fertilisation in couples. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, a step ahead in the IVF treatment technique, has revolutionised male infertility in recent years. It gives men with poor quality of sperm, the chance of fathering their children. In natural conception, many millions of sperm cells in each ejaculation are necessary for fertilisation, while that in ICSI just one may be enough.

What is ICSI procedure?

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (full form of ICSI), is a part of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure in which the eggs and sperm are fertilized after injecting sperm in the cytoplasm of a mature egg. It is a procedure needed for couples suffering from severe male factor infertility.

How does ICSI work?

The menstrual cycle of a fertile woman actually lasts about a month. During this time and under the influence of the body’s natural hormones, the follicles within the ovaries containing an egg continues to grow. At a point midway of the period cycle in women, this egg is released from the ovary, and ovulation occurs. Ovulation, however, is also regulated by hormones.

The eggs, which from this moment on, is ready for fertilisation, passes into the fallopian tubes, to await the arrival of fertile sperm.

The cause of unwanted childlessness is numerous, but so are the means of treating them. One such powerful treatment method is ICSI treatment. It is a part of IVF treatment.

Women undergoing the treatment are given special reproductive hormones to encourage several eggs to develop in the ovaries. The eggs are then retrieved for the treatment through ICSI procedure.

Fertilisation in ICSI is done by injecting an individual sperm cell in each of the collected eggs. For this purpose, each egg is placed under a very powerful microscope, and a singular sperm cell is injected directly into it by means of a fine needle.

Following injections and after about 24 hours in the incubator, most of the eggs will start showing the signs of fertilisation. The egg cells divide and multiply to form an embryo. After 2-3 days a healthy embryo develops. It is then transferred

to the uterus using a thin flexible needle, where it is left to implant and form a pregnancy.

ICSI Procedure Step-by-Step

The IVF ICSI step by step process is performed when there are cases of severe male factor infertility. ICSI procedure involves the following:

Stimulation: It is the first step towards the process, ICSI stimulation, in which medications are injected to the woman undergoing the treatment. Stimulation medications are hormones that allow follicles to mature.

Retrieval of Eggs and Sperm: Once the stimulation is done, eggs are retrieved. Further, the sperms are also collected. After the collection of sperm, the motile sperms are separated from the immotile one’s and washed.

Insemination: Once the eggs and sperms are retrieved, the fertilisation is done in a culture dish by injecting each mature egg with a single sperm, under the observation of a powerful microscope. The sperms which are morphologically normal and exhibit a forward progression are selected for insemination. This is one of the ICSI steps that plays a great role in improving fertilisation rates and increasing pregnancy chances.

Blastocyst Culture: The inseminated eggs are then placed in an incubator. The incubator provides an optimum environment for the eggs to multiply and form embryos. After about 24 hours, the eggs start showing signs of fertilisation. It takes almost 3-5 days for the eggs to develop into a healthy embryo.

Embryo Transfer: After the culturing, the embryos are transferred to the uterus to implant and impregnate the woman. A thin, flexible needle is used to transfer the embryos to the uterus.

When is ICSI Recommended?

The procedure of ICSI is usually recommended to couples in the following cases:

If a man has low sperm count and is unable to conceive due to it after having unprotected intercourse for more than 12 months.

Men with abnormally shaped sperm (poor sperm morphology) or with less or no movement of sperm at all (poor sperm motility) should definitely opt for it.

In cases of men who underwent vasectomy, or those with blocked epididymis (a duct that allows the sperm to pass from the testis and ejaculate) due to any disease, injury or genetic condition, and the sperm needs to be retrieved surgically from the testicles, TESE – ICSI (Testicular Sperm Extraction – ICSI) is a better option to help them father their babies.

It is also recommended for those men using frozen sperm which are not of good quality.

According to American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, while being effective for overcoming infertility in couples with abnormal semen parameters, is also frequently utilised in combination with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for other infertility issues in the presence of normal semen parameters as well.

ICSI process is helpful in improving fertilisation rates in case of multiple IVF Failure.

It may also benefit patients undergoing IVF with PGT, eggs matured in labs, and those with previously frozen eggs.

ICSI Success Stories – Medicover Fertility

I and my wife (Atul and Shikha) are both career-oriented people. As our career was at the peak, after 5 years of our marriage we decided to plan our family. After a year of unsuccessful attempts to conceive, we realised that we had some issues. Luckily, I came across a Facebook ad of Medicover Fertility. Booking an appointment here was easy and met the doctor for consultation.

From the beginning itself, no false hopes were given. We were made aware of some fertility tests and prescribed certain tests. To my dismay, I was detected with azoospermia, and the doctor recommended us for IVF-ICSI treatment. With the support of the Medicover team, we went for the treatment. Today I am happy to announce that we are blessed with our baby, of which I had almost lost hope of. Thank you, Medicover.

How Successful is ICSI?

Talking about the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Treatments, people usually consider In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment as the only available quality treatment option.

Although, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization might be an alternative but Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) has been an advanced form of treatment since around 1992 for men suffering from infertility.

According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), ICSI Treatment has increased chances of fertilization rate.

Are ICSI Babies Normal?

According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, a woman even if conceives naturally, there is 1.5% to 3% chances of risk associated with her, so is with the ICSI Treatment. It has nothing to do with the treatment procedure. The root of the matter is the infertility issue itself.

Although Researchers say that the birth defects are mostly correctible and babies develop into normal and healthy ones.

Conclusion

About half of the couples having trouble conceiving, the cause of infertility is due to male factor. ICSI treatment is considered to be the most appropriate, common, and successful amongst all other ART procedures.

Moreover, with the advancement of technology and modern labs, the process of ICSI treatment has helped overcome infertility issues of both men and women. Today various fertility clinics have adopted this treatment method to enhance their success rates.

One of the leading European fertility chains, Medicover Fertility, has successfully provided affordable ICSI treatment to many couples facing infertility and helped them become parents.

If you have any queries or concerns relating to infertility and its treatment, you can consult fertility specialist at Medicover Fertility by calling +917862800700.

FAQs

Q – What is the difference between ICSI Vs IVF?

A – The basic difference between ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) and IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) is the difference in the way they fertilise the eggs. In the case of ICSI, one sperm is injected in the cytoplasm of a mature egg, whereas in case of IVF, the egg and sperm are left in a petri dish to fertilise.

Q – How much does ICSI Treatment Cost?

A – The cost of the treatment is approximately around 2 Lakhs to 2.5 Lakhs on an average.

Q – What is the Success Rate of ICSI?

A – ICSI is very successful in helping the sperm and egg to fertilise. However, just as IVF, there are other factors as well that affects a successful pregnancy after the treatment like age, etc.

Q – Is ICSI more successful than IVF?

A – It depends. Studies and researches suggest that ICSI procedure is as effective as IVF when the sperm is injected in the egg without any male factor infertility. However, in the case of male factor infertility, it is considered to be a better solution than normal IVF procedure.

Q – Can ICSI cause Twins?

A – ICSI has increased fertilization rates. Although, the chances of having twin babies with ICSI is comparatively low.

Q – Are ICSI babies born Early?

A – According to a study conducted, of women who undergoes IVF or ICSI Treatment, there is reduced risk of women having premature birth of their babies. In 92% to 95% of women undergoing such treatment, they do not have any premature delivery.

References

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001502821102927X

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001502821202078X

https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/30/8/1790/951272

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1472648310611911