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intracytoplasmic sperm injection (icsi)

with icsi, a tiny needle, called a micropipette, is used to inject a single sperm into the center of the egg. this increases rates of fertilization, because the sperm has to do less work to get into the egg.

what is icsi

there are two ways to achieve fertilization with ivf: traditional and icsi. in traditional ivf, about 50,000 or more swimming sperm are placed next to the egg in a laboratory dish. fertilization occurs when one of the sperm enters into the cytoplasm of the egg.

intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or icsi, involves injecting a single live, healthy sperm (identified by your embryologist) directly into the center of an egg. the technique was originally developed to help achieve fertilization for those struggling with male factor infertility. this is because icsi makes it easier for the sperm to get into the egg. it’s also used for couples who have had failure to fertilize in previous ivf cycles. at mate, we don’t charge extra for icsi, as it’s a standard part of all our cycles. icsi has been scientifically proven to increase fertilization rates.

does this change anything

as the patient, nothing changes from your end with icsi. all of the additional work is done by the lab. so the procedure for you will be completely the same as described under ivf. to recap, it requires that the partner with a uterus undergo ovarian stimulation with fertility medications so that several mature eggs develop. these eggs are then aspirated through the vagina using a vaginal ultrasound in a procedure called an egg retrieval. your eggs will be incubated under precise conditions that mimic the human body in our embryology lab.

the semen sample is prepared by centrifuging, or spinning the sperm cells through a special medium. this separates live sperm from debris and most of the dead sperm. the embryologist then picks up the single live sperm in a glass needle and injects it directly into the egg.

is it safe

through icsi, many couples with difficult male factor infertility problems have achieved pregnancy. pregnancy rates are comparable to those seen with ivf in couples with no male factor infertility. icsi is an extremely safe technique most modern fertility clinics use.

the most important indicator of icsi success is fertilization. where fertilization may have been virtually impossible before, icsi enables fertilization. there appears to be no difference in the overall embryo quality achieved with icsi embryos when compared to non-icsi embryos. similarly, no difference in pregnancy rates has been shown between icsi embryos and non-icsi embryos.

there are several small risks, and it’s important to speak to your provider and embryologist if you have concerns.