Womens Health

ICSI 101

Before undergoing any fertility treatment, most people will want to understand exactly what they will be going through. This can help to allay any fears that the couple may have and will help to alleviate their anxiety about the process. One fertility treatment that has been gaining popularity is ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). It is recommended for couples who have less than one million total sperm in each ejaculation sample that has been taken.

What Happens During ICSI?

The procedure involves sperm being injected through the egg's outside covering into the cytoplasm. Only one sperm is actually injected, and this makes ICSI different from most fertility treatments. Other than this difference, most of the rest of the treatment is the same as the IVF process.

The Entire Process At A Glance

Many people are having success today with ICSI. It is important to understand what the success is based on. First, the woman will have ovulation induction procedures and oocyte retrieval just as she would with IVF. She has already had her ovaries hyper stimulated with hormones and fertility drugs. The development of the ovaries has been monitored through sonograms and hormonal tests. Then, when she is about to ovulate, the eggs are retrieved and the oocytes are then scored for their maturation and the best ones are selected to be incubated. The sperm is collected from the man either through masturbation or through surgery. Then, when the egg is fully matured and ready to be fertilized, the embryologist then gently takes one sperm from the collection and puts it into a pipette, or a microscopic eye-dropper of sorts. The tip of the pipette is then brought to the waiting egg, which is also held in place with a pipette. The sperm-containing pipette is then inserted into the egg and the sperm is ejected into the egg. The microfertilization process should then take less than ten minutes. The fertilized egg is surgically placed back into the woman, with the hope that she will become pregnant.

Potential Risks

ICSI treatment has been performed with great success on many couples. It should be understood, however, that the procedure does have some risks. It is possible that damage will be caused to the ova when the sperm is forcefully injected into the egg. It is possible that the membranes will be damaged, and this can lead to miscarriages later in the pregnancy. Since the egg retrieval is done surgically, and the sperm retrieval may be done surgically as well, there are always risks involved with surgery. There can be infections, hemorrhaging, and other issues with the anesthesia.

It is important to weigh your options before agreeing to any fertility treatment. ICSI is particularly helpful for male infertility and it is worth exploring if this is the focus of your troubles.

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