Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

In Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) a single live sperm has been injected into the center of a female egg. As in some cases, the sperm cannot penetrate the outer layer of the egg for a variety of reasons.  For example, due to the hardness of the egg’s outer layer, it becomes tough for the sperm to penetrate to become able to swim in the egg. The procedure was developed and used to help for successful achieve pregnancies for couples suffering with several male factor infertility or couples who have become unsuccessful to fertilize in a previous in-vitro fertilization (IVF) attempt. The procedure eliminates many roadblocks to fertilization and provides couples with a ray of hope for achieving successful pregnancy to receive fertilized embryos.

In this procedure, in order to develop several mature eggs, the female partner requires ovarian stimulation with fertility medications. Using vaginal ultrasound, the eggs are then drew out through the vagina, and incubated under accurate environment in the embryology laboratory. After these steps, the semen sample is prepared by spinning or centrifuging the sperm cells through a special medium to allow the separation of live sperm from the dead sperm and from debris. The embryologist then select the single healthy live sperm in a glass needle and injects it directly into the egg for further fertilization process. The ICSI was first used at UCSF in 1994. In February of 1995, first pregnancy followed by child birth was successfully achieved with ICSI assistances.

ICSI is very similar to conventional IVF procedure as the eggs and sperm are collected from each partner in both procedure. It has provided a hope for the couples who have very limited availability of suitable sperm or there may be other factors forbidding successful fertilization.

This ICSI procedure is conducted in the laboratory by experienced embryologists using specialist instrument. It requires very few sperm and the event of the sperm to penetrate the egg is no further required as this has been assisted by the ICSI technique. Although, ICSI does not guarantee that fertilization will surely happen as the normal biological events of fertilization still required to occur once the sperm has been penetrated the egg.

Who should consider ICSI?

In fact, an ICSI treatment process is exactly the same as a conventional IVF process as nearly same steps are involved in both of process. Circumstances in which ICSI may be suitable are:

  • When the sperm count is relatively low in male partner
  • When the motion of the sperm is not stable or are in other ways abnormal
  • When the presence of antibodies are very high in the semen
  • When there has been a previous case of fertilization failure using conventional IVF
  • When sperm has been obtained surgically from the testes or epididymis(MESA/PESA)

You may Contact Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour for your all Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) questions and doubts. She is recognized as one of the best gynecologists and infertility specialist based in Delhi. 

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