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ICSI Explained: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

ICSI is an Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This process involves injecting a single sperm into the center of the ovum directly. The couples with male factor infertility or who have had failure to fertilize in their previous in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempt are the best candidates for this technology. This procedure overcomes many fertilization barriers and becomes hope for infertile couples. They can achieve the hope of a healthy and successful pregnancy.

 

How does this procedure work?

In this procedure, the most potent and single sperm with good motility is selected. The selected sperm is then injected directly into the ovum with a micro-needle. The procedure is done in a sterile embryology laboratory. The embryo is then cultured in the laboratory until it reaches the stage of day 5 embryos called blastocysts. The transfer of the blastocyst into the uterus allows continuing development in the womb. The procedure ICSI is accepted as a safe, highly effective medical technology for both men and women facing infertility.

 

Steps of ICSI Procedure

Before undergoing Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), a comprehensive series of procedures are conducted. These are important to ensure optimal conditions for fertilization and subsequent embryo transfer. It starts with;

1. Physical examination

The process begins with a physical examination of the mother to assess her health condition. This evaluation typically coincides with the 2nd or 3rd day of her menstrual period. It includes blood tests and ultrasound examination to evaluate ovarian function and the number of eggs available for stimulation.

2. Ovarian stimulation

Hormones are administered daily to stimulate multiple egg growth and maturation. Egg growth and follicle development monitoring are done through transvaginal ultrasounds.

3. Egg retrieval

Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved under light sedation using a thin needle guided by ultrasound.

4. Sperm collection

The male partner provides sperm, either on the day of egg retrieval or earlier. The sperm is then analyzed for quality. The sperm may be extracted directly from the testicle for individuals with male factor infertility.

5. During the ICSI procedure

During the ICSI procedure, a single healthy sperm is injected into a mature egg to facilitate fertilization. After successful fertilization, embryos are cultured for 3-5 days until they reach the blastocyst stage. The environment within the embryology laboratory is carefully controlled to mimic conditions within the mother’s womb.

6. Post-ICSI procedure

Post-ICSI, embryos can be transferred into the uterus either fresh or after being frozen and thawed in a subsequent cycle. A pregnancy test is conducted approximately ten days after embryo transfer to confirm pregnancy. Throughout the process, regular follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor the health of the mother-to-be and the development of the fetus.

 

Who is the best candidate for ICSI?

ICSI can be a great deal for the couples facing infertility for years. It can be beneficial for individuals who are suffering from the following infertility medical conditions:

Female infertility factors

Female suffering from medical conditions causing infertility such as;

  • Endometriosis
  • Hydrosalpinx
  • Ruptured or Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Anovulation
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Reproductive system diseases
  • + more

Male infertility factors

Male factor infertility due to;

  • Obstructive azoospermia (OA)
  • Anejaculation
  • Varicocele
  • + other abnormalities

Many couples choose to go for the ICSI procedure to maximize their success for fertility. Someone with sperm abnormalities should consider ICSI seriously. If the male partner has had a vasectomy reversal, ICSI is recommended for them regardless of the sperm quality. The presence of sperm antibodies may affect fertilization. Sometimes people prioritize ICSI just because they want to do everything possible to maximize fertilization. It is important to understand for couples with normal sperm parameters that they can consider other procedures for maximal fertilization. They can go for standard insemination during IVF without the use of ICSI.

 

How much does ICSI cost?

The cost of ICSI in the UK can vary depending on the clinic you choose. An ICSI cycle can cost anywhere between £3,000 and £14,000. Additional costs, such as medication and lab fees, may also apply. It’s important to remember that the final cost can vary depending on your individual circumstances – you may require several cycles, and egg donation, egg freezing etc. The cost of ICSI is determined by a number of variables, including clinical experience, procedure quality, and facility quality, to name a few.

 

Factors affecting the cost of ICSI

Patients might ask about the differences in ICSI prices across different clinics. To answer this vital subject, we must acknowledge that there are multiple factors that influence the fluctuation in ICSI prices. First and foremost, the region in which the surgery is carried out is important. The value of the currency and cost of life in a few countries lead to noticeably reduced ICSI costs. Additionally, since advanced treatments may be more expensive, the technology used by clinics can affect the cost. The cost is also influenced by the doctors’ and surgical team’s qualifications and experience.

 

Does insurance cover the cost of ICSI?

In different countries, especially those where there are problems with an aging population, insurance pays for ICSI. Due to the high cost of infertility treatments, several couples look to foreign organizations for insurance coverage. Nevertheless, the truth is that infertility therapies like IVF, ICSI, and associated procedures like sperm cryopreservation, testicular biopsies, embryo biopsies, and ovarian tissue biopsies can all be exceedingly expensive. Unfortunately, the ICSI and IVF procedures are not covered by insurance in different countries. Therefore, you ought to pick a location for your ICSI that is more reasonably priced.

 

What is the success rate of ICSI?

ICSI is currently the most extensively used IVF technique for treating infertility globally, and it is also the most effective when compared to other infertility treatment procedures. Up to 60–70% of the time, the transfer of genetically tested embryos results in success. In order to increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy, the ICSI procedure involves injecting sperm directly into the egg for fertilization, hence avoiding infertility problems brought on by thick eggshells or poor-quality sperm.

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