IVF ICSI stands for In Vitro Fertilization with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. In the regular IVF procedure, a lot of sperm are combined with an egg, in hopes that one sperm will fertilize the egg. On the other hand, IVF ICSI is done by taking a single sperm which is directly injected into an egg.

While several fertility clinics recommend the IVF ICSI procedure, others reserve the Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection for patients who suffer from severe male infertility or a different medically indicated reason. IVF ICSI has allowed a lot of infertile couples to conceive since they would not have been able to get pregnant using their own eggs and sperm without ICSI in IVF.

Why is IVF ICSI Done?

IVF ICSI is often used in cases of severe male infertility which include the following:

• Oligospermia or very low sperm count
• Teratozoospermia or abnormally-shaped sperm
• Asthenozoospermia or poor sperm motility

If a male is able to produce sperm but does not release this in his ejaculate, the sperm may be acquired through TESE or Testicular Sperm Extraction. Sperm that is acquired through TESE requires the ICSI procedure. ICSI is also used in cases of retrograde ejaculation; in this procedure, the sperm is obtained from the male’s urine.

Severe male infertility is not the only reason to use IVF ICSI; other cases include:

• Retrieval of very few eggs – in this case, ICSI can be used to increase the chances of having a healthy embryo to transfer.
• Previous IVF cycle that had only a few or no fertilized eggs – there are cases when a good amount of eggs are obtained and the sperm count is also good, but no eggs are fertilized. Since the first IVF cycle failed, ICSI can be tried.
• Frozen sperm is utilized – if the preserved sperm is thawed and does not appear to be active, IVF ICSI will be recommended.

The Success Rate of IVF ICSI

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection can fertilize up to 50 to 80 percent of eggs. Due to this fact, a lot of people tend to assume that all eggs are successfully fertilized in IVF ICSI; however, these are not. Even if the sperm is directly injected into the egg, successful fertilization cannot be guaranteed. Additionally, the embryo may stop growing even after fertilization. Once fertilization occurs, the success rate of IVF ICSI is similar to the rates of a regular IVF treatment.

The IVF ICSI Procedure

In IVF ICSI, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is done as a part of the IVF process. Since the ICSI procedure is also performed in the laboratory, the IVF ICSI treatment will not have much difference with the regular In Vitro Fertilization procedure.

As with the regular IVF procedure, you will be prescribed to take ovarian stimulating drugs and your physician will monitor your progress via blood tests and ultrasounds. Once sufficient follicles have developed in good sizes, you will undergo egg retrieval where eggs will be taken from your ovaries using a specialized needle guided by an ultrasound. Unless a sperm donor or a previously frozen sperm will be used, your partner will also provide his sperm sample on the same day.

Once the eggs are acquired, the embryologist will place these in a special culture, then a single sperm will be injected into each retrieved egg with the use of a microscope and a tiny needle. If the fertilization results to healthy embryos, an embryo will be transferred to your uterus using a catheter that will be inserted through your cervix in two to five days later.

Cost of IVF Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection alone costs between $1,400 to $2,000. This is added to the general IVF cost, which costs $12,000 to $15,000 on an average. If other IVF options are used, it may cost higher than this.

The Risks of IVF ICSI

The IVF ICSI procedure comes with all the risks of the regular In Vitro Fertilization, and it involves the Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, IVF ICSI introduces additional ones. The average pregnancy comes with 1.5 to 3 percent risk of having a major birth defect. Although it is rare, ICSI brings a slight increase in the risk of birth defects.

A few birth defects such as the Angelman syndrome, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, hypospadias, and sex chromosome abnormalities may possibly to occur with IVF ICSI. These occur in not more than 1 percent of babies that are conceived via In Vitro Fertilization and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. Additionally, there may be slight chances of a male baby experiencing fertility issues in the future since this can be genetically passed on.

These are some of the increased risks why a lot of physicians do not always recommend ICSI for all IVF cycles. If you will need ICSI to conceive, you can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using this assisted reproduction technology with your doctor.

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