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Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection

Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection

Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a procedure that was introduced in 1992 and is now used in nearly half of all IVF treatments. The procedure is used where fertility problems are found in men who have a very low sperm count, produce few good quality sperm or have a problem with anti-sperm antibodies in their semen. There may also be situations when sperm cannot move properly or where the sperm can get to the egg but are unable to fertilise it for some reason.

The ICSI procedure can also help couples where the man has had an irreversible vasectomy or has no sperm in his semen due to missing tubes or blockages in his reproductive organs.

With ICSI sperm do not have to travel to the egg or penetrate outer layers of the egg Only one sperm is needed which is injected directly into the egg. Couples who have tried IVF can sometimes move on to ICSI if not enough eggs could be retrieved from the woman, or when the eggs retrieved for IVF were unable to be fertilised successfully in vitro.

One cycle of ICSI takes four to six weeks to complete. Couples can expect to spend a full day at the clinic for the egg and sperm retrieval procedures and will return two days later for the embryo implantation. If there is no sperm man’s semen, in most cases doctors can retrieve sperm by extracting them with a needle directly from a testicle while under anaesthetic. If this procedure is unsuccessful a biopsy of testicular tissue using TESE (Testicular Sperm Extraction) can be done to extract any sperm that might be attached to testicular tissue which can then be frozen for later use.

The success rate of ICSI is increasing as more and more clinics become experienced in the technique. Many clinics now find that their clinical pregnancy rates for ICSI are higher than those achieved using conventional IVF methods.