Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a popular technology-backed male fertility treatment method that has successfully helped many couples to conceive. The procedure helps enhance the success rates of IVF procedures through the injection of sperm into a healthy egg that has been released by the ovary. Depending on the health of the woman, the egg may be transferred into the Fallopian tube or uterus.
Retrieving Sperm For The Procedure
There are several methods through which sperm can be retrieved from the male partner for the ICSI procedure. Masturbation is the commonest form of sperm retrieval for fertility treatments. In situations where the male partner is unable to ejaculate or suffers from sperm production disorders, a surgeon may directly transfer sperm from the testicles via surgery.
A procedure known as Needle Aspiration can also be used to retrieve sperm from a reproductive male for one type of Assisted Reproductive Technology procedure or another. This procedure involves the use of a tiny needle to draw sperm directly from the man’s testicles. To minimize pain and discomfort, the patient is usually sedated during the needle aspiration procedure but the testicles may be swollen and severely painful afterwards.
The retrieved sperm is placed into contact with the woman’s eggs and once fertilization occurs, the developing embryo is usually kept in the laboratory for a couple of days for monitoring and continued development.
After further development, embryo transfer is done to send the growing embryo into the woman’s uterus. After 14-21 days, pregnancy tests may be conducted to verify whether the Intracytoplasmic sperm injection procedure was successful.
Conditions under Which ICSI May be Prescribed
The ICSI procedure can be used as a solution for several male infertility issues. Some of the conditions under which doctors may prescribe the procedure include:
- Lack of sperm in the man’s semen, commonly referred to as azoospermia.
- Low Sperm Count
- Inability of sperm to move towards eggs after sexual intercourse.
- Unhealthy sperm production
Going through any fertility procedure can be stressful on both you and your partner. If your doctor prescribes Superovulation for you then you will be required to undergo various types of medical tests on a continuous basis as well as multiple daily injections to maximize your chances of successful pregnancies.
ICSI Success Rates
ICSI is just one step of various assisted reproductive technologies for men who may be suffering from fertility-related complications. Overall, about 25 to 30 percent of such procedures result in successful pregnancies. Keep in mind that other conditions may hinder the success of these procedures. If you produce excellent quality sperm and have no issues with ejaculation then ICSI will not have any effect on your chances of successfully impregnating a woman.
The use of intracytoplasmic sperm injections for various assisted reproductive technology procedures has been linked with an increased number of defects in children successfully born, according to some scientists. However, another school of thought has rejected such claims and believes that the number of birth defects doesn’t increase in any way with ICSI-backed fertility treatment procedures. Your doctor is the best person to talk to, with regards to any concerns you may have, before undergoing the fertility procedure.
- ICSI- assisted fertility treatments may result in multiple births, which can have an impact on the health of the pregnant woman and the fetuses.
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome may result in women who undergo superovulation as part of their fertility treatments.
- ICSI increases the risk of a man passing on genetic disorders directly to a child. Medical professionals usually recommend that extensive tests be conducted to identify the presence of any of such disorders so that the right measures can be taken.
ICSI for Older Couples
IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection doesn’t directly increase an older woman’s chances of pregnancy. To increase the odds of pregnancy in older women, doctors may transfer an unusually high number of embryos into the uterus after fertilization with sperm from ICSI. However, this may lead to the conception of twins, triplets, etc. Your doctor will discuss these risks with you in order to come to a common conclusion.
Another way to increase pregnancy odds for older women is to use eggs from a younger donor, especially those within the ages of 18-30 years.