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Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

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What is Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)?

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure used in in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help fertilize an egg. ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into the cytoplasm of an egg. This process is done in the laboratory, under a microscope, and is used when there are issues with sperm function or quantity.

The process of ICSI starts with the same steps as IVF, that is the stimulation of egg production, egg retrieval, fertilization and embryo culture. However, the fertilization step is different, where instead of mixing the egg and sperm together and waiting for fertilization to happen naturally, a single sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg.

What is the process of ICSI Treatment?

The process of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) typically involves the following steps:

  1. Stimulation of egg production: The woman takes medication to stimulate the production of multiple eggs.
  2. Egg retrieval: The eggs are retrieved from the woman’s ovaries using a procedure called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration.
  3. Sperm preparation: The sperm sample is prepared by separating the healthy sperm from the rest of the semen. The sperm can be from the partner or from a sperm donor.
  4. Injection: A single sperm is selected and injected directly into the cytoplasm of an egg using a very fine glass needle. The procedure is done under a microscope and is done by a skilled embryologist.
  5. Embryo culture: The fertilized eggs, now called embryos, are grown in the laboratory for 2 to 6 days.
  6. Embryo transfer: One or more embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus, with the goal of establishing a pregnancy.
  7. Luteal Support and Pregnancy Test : After embryo transfer, the woman is given medication to support the implantation of the embryo and will take a pregnancy test two weeks later.
  8. Cryopreservation : Any remaining embryos that are not transferred can be frozen for future use.

When is ICSI procedure recommended?

ICSI is typically recommended for couples who have been trying to conceive for at least one year without success and have been diagnosed with infertility related to sperm issues. This may include conditions such as:

  • Male factor infertility, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm shape.
  • Azoospermia, which is the absence of sperm in the semen
  • Obstructive azoospermia, which is caused by blockages in the vas deferens or epididymis
  • Non-obstructive azoospermia, which is caused by problems with sperm production in the testes
  • Previous failed IVF cycles due to poor fertilization
  • Genetic disorders in the sperm
It's important to note that, ICSI is considered to be a more invasive and expensive treatment than traditional IVF. It is highly recommended to consult with a fertility specialist and have a detailed assessment before proceeding with the ICSI procedure.

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