What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a very effective assisted reproductive technology (ART) used at Michigan Reproductive Medicine (MRM) in many cases of male infertility. ICSI was introduced for human medicine in 1992 and represented the second major advance in modern fertility treatment – the first being IVF – because it enabled fertility specialists to directly address the problem of male factor infertility. The ICSI procedure directly introduces an individual sperm cell into each of the eggs obtained during the IVF (in vitro fertilization) process. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus to initiate pregnancy. ICSI has proven to be a truly revolutionary technology, giving new hope to many couples who had been unable to conceive.
Is ICSI Right for Me?
In order to determine whether ICSI is an appropriate treatment for you, you need to have an accurate diagnosis. It seems obvious, but many couples dealing with infertility think they know what their problem is, but they have never been correctly diagnosed. Our advanced diagnostic technology and over 30 years of experience are your assurance of accuracy.
How Does ICSI Help?
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection can be used in most types of male infertility, including:
- Low sperm count
- Absence of sperm in the ejaculate
- Impaired sperm motility (ability to move)
- Abnormal sperm morphology (shape of the sperm)
ICSI can also be helpful in rarer cases of male infertility, such as:
- Problems with sperm binding to and penetrating the egg
- Anti-sperm antibodies (immune or protective proteins which attach to and destroy sperm)
- Prior or repeated fertilization failure with standard IVF culture and fertilization methods
- Frozen sperm collected prior to cancer treatment that may be limited in number and quality
- Absence of sperm due to blockage. In this situation, sperm retrieval is done either from the epididymis by a procedure called microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) or from the testes by testicular sperm aspiration (TESA).
ICSI is also used for non-male infertility factors:
- Preimplantation genetic testing by preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
- Inseminating previously cryopreserved (frozen) eggs. The shell of previously frozen eggs can be harder than normal increasing the challenge for a sperm to penetrate the shell and fertilized the egg. ICSI ensures the sperm will enter previously frozen eggs.
In all the above cases, neither IUI nor routine IVF is effective. Routine IVF procedure involves mixing a large quantity of sperm with the retrieved eggs and incubating them in culture and depending on the sperm to enter the eggs without assistance to form an embryo.
Because the ICSI procedure injects a single sperm directly into the egg, it is a highly-targeted approach to IVF when standard methods are not an option, or have failed.
ICSI is not effective when used to treat infertility resulting from poor egg quality, i.e., female factor infertility.
Does ICSI Have Risks?
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is almost universally considered to be a very low-risk procedure.There have been no clear and consistent risks to a child conceived with ICSI. If the sperm problem was due to a genetic problem involving the male determining Y-chromosome, there is a theoretical risk for passing on a similar male infertility factor to a son.
Why Come to Michigan Reproductive Medicine for ICSI?
Please make an appointment with one of MRM’s fertility expert physicians to discuss your specific needs and hopes for family building and find out if IVF with ICSI is right for you.