Intracytoplasmic sperm injection consists of the direct injection of sperm into eggs obtained from in vitro fertilization. This procedure is usually recommended in a situation when there is a reason to suspect that achieving fertilization might be difficult, and is most commonly used with couples who are struggling with factors of male infertility. These can include the following: Poor sperm quality, low sperm counts, poor mobility or movement of the sperm, sperm lacking the ability to penetrate an egg etc. It is also recommended in situations in which there are high levels of antibodies present in the sperm, and when there has been a previous failure in fertilization through the use of conventional IVF. ICSI provides couples with a lack of suitable sperm with a hopeful alternative for having children.
This procedure is conducted through the following five steps:
- The mature egg is held through the use of a specialized pipette.
- An extremely delicate, hollow, and sharp needle is used for the immobilization and pick up of a single sperm.
- This needed is then inserted carefully through the shell of the egg, and then, into the cytoplasm of the egg.
- Following this, the sperm is injected into the cytoplasm, and the needle is removed carefully.
- Lastly, the eggs are checked the following day to look for evidence of normal fertilization.
Once all of these steps are complete and fertilization has taken place successfully, the embryo transfer procedure takes place to physically place the embryo in the woman’s uterus. After this, it is all about watching for early pregnancy symptoms. The fertility specialist might use an ultrasound or a blood test in order to determine if pregnancy or implantation has taken place.
In the case of men who have low sperm count or sperm with low mobility, the sperm can possibly be collected through normal ejaculation. If the man has experienced a vasectomy, then the micro-surgical vasectomy reversal is the most cost-effective option one has for the restoration of fertility.
Side effects of ICSI consist of the following:
First of all, there have been studies stating that babies from pregnancies achieved through artificial insemination, particularly ICSI, might face an increased risk regarding birth defects, such as those of imprinting. This is a phenomenon in which some genes function in a different way depending on whether they involve a particular chromosome passed on by the mother or the father.
Chances of the success of ICSI can vary between patients, mainly depending on the age of the woman. However, on average, around 25% of patients will give birth after a single attempt at ICSI. The unfortunate truth is that ICSI does not result in a guarantee that fertilization will occur due to the normal cellular events of fertilization still being needed to take place once the sperm has been placed in the egg.
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