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IVF and ICSI: All You Need to Know

In vitro fertilization or IVF, is quite popular these days. What is ICSI? When is it needed? Does it improve one’s chances of having a baby? Are there risks? Such questions do arise in one’s mind.

ICSI happens to be an acronym for intracellular sperm injection. It is indeed performed as part of an IVF procedure. In IVF that is without ICSI, eggs and sperm are rather combined in the embryology laboratory. A sperm cell will no doubt manage to pierce the wall of an egg and also fertilize it. If all does go off well, the fertilized egg will rather begin to grow as well as divide, thus becoming an embryo which can be transferred to a woman’s uterus. In an IVF cycle with ICSI treatment in Hyderabad, the embryologist will rather inject a single sperm into an egg, essentially bypassing the need for the sperm to break through the egg’s outer wall.

ICSI and Male Factor Infertility

ICSI often is made use of when the male partner has fertility problems, referred to as male factor infertility. He may have a low sperm count, so there are not sufficient sperms to successfully fertilize an egg. His sperm may not swim well enough or strong enough to get to the egg (motility issues) or they may not be shaped properly and cannot get through the wall of the respective egg (morphology issues).

In other cases, the male partner may not actually have sperm in his ejaculate even though his testicles are producing sperm, due to blockages or abnormalities in the vas deferens, the tubes which deliver sperm from the testicles. Sperm can be extracted from his testicles and used in the lab with IVF treatment in Hyderabad and ICSI. ICSI may also be used if there didn’t appear to be any problems with his sperm but the previous IVF cycle did not result in fertilized eggs. ICSI makes sure the sperm gets in and increases the chance of fertilization.

ICSI and Success Rates

Some fertility clinics use ICSI as part of every IVF cycle. Others only use it when the male factor infertility is present or there are of course other issues, such as when few eggs are produced by ovarian stimulation. Research in the U.S. has indeed shown that IVF with ICSI has success rates that are very similar to those of IVF alone in couples who have rather normal sperm quality. ICSI is not a guarantee that one will get pregnant and have a baby from IVF treatment. All the other factors that affect IVF will still come into play, including the age of the eggs. ICSI does help level the playing field if one has had problems with fertilization of the eggs.

Risks of ICSI

The good news is, ICSI’s effect on birth defects is indeed very slight. A normal pregnancy that is without assisted reproductive technology (ART) has a 1.5 percent to 3 percent chance of birth defects. ICSI treatment does cause a very slightly increased chance, and birth defects are extremely rare. Long-term studies have found some specific risks of birth defects, which may be of course due to lower quality sperm, including sex chromosome abnormalities, defects in the urinary system or genitals, and other rare syndromes such as Angelman syndrome, hypospadias, as well as sex chromosome abnormalities. But, again, the chance of this happening appears to be very low.

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