The first foray into assisted human reproduction treatments began decades ago and since then numerous scientific and technological innovations have yielded advancements in throughout the field of expertise. One of the many examples of such progression is intracytoplasmic sperm injection – abbreviated to ICSI – in relation to male infertility.
ICSI is a tool included within in vitro fertilisation treatments, specifically at the point of oocyte fertilisation in the laboratory. As with all procedures, numerous phases are required before completion, although fertilisation success rates using sperm microinjection are around 70%.
What is ICSI – Sperm Microinjection?
Intracytoplasmic injection is particularly applicable to men with severe fertility problems. Instead of the 50,000 sperm cells available to conventional IVF treatments, ICSI uses just one.
Such precision has made practice a success since 1992 and offers couples a solution to low sperm count and motility issues which may have previously been an insurmountable obstacle to conceiving.
In what cases is ICSI – Sperm Microinjection necessary?
Infertility is often the result of a combination of different factors, and as such, assisted human reproduction treatments can provide solutions tailored to each deficiency.
Not every procedure is recommended, and the key to assisted human reproduction treatments is to get the right balance between one technique and another. Each case must therefore be individually analysed before our specialist team at IFER can provide the correct solution.
ICSI as part of in vitro fertilisation is an approach best undertaken when sperm count, motility or quantity prevent pregnancy, but is not limited to such diagnosis and can be a solution to:
- Men with azoospermia (total absence of sperm in semen)
- Men with oligozoospermia (low sperm concentration)
- Men with teratozoospermia (abnormal sperm morphology)
- Men with asthenozoospermia (low sperm motility)
- Women who produce few eggs after ovarian stimulation as ensuring those available can be fertilised is paramount.
- Men who suffer from infectious diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis C and B which can be transmitted to partners via conventional IVF.
- When working with frozen semen from men who are no longer able to produce active sperm due to cancer treatment or vasectomy.
- When sperm is obtained directly from the testicles because there is an obstruction in the vas deferens or problems with ejaculation.
ICSI Phases – Sperm Microinjection
In order obtain and use a single sperm, a refined, complex and precise procedure must be executed. While similar to conventional IVF, a fundamental alteration to treatment is made during ICSI.
Sperm microinjection first requires a decumulation or denudation to guarantee a mature egg is available. The procedure consists of removing the granular layer which surrounds an egg by means of chemical or mechanical decumulation and is administered a few hours following follicular puncture.
On behalf of the male counterpart, a testicular biopsy is performed and the highest quality of sperm is then selected. The determined sperm is then immobilised by immersing it in a viscous substance which slows movement, allowing for injection into the interior oocyte and ultimately later fertilisation.
Once the culture has been completed, the embryo transfer takes place as a conventional in vitro fertilisation implantation would do so after three to six days. It also permits the vitrification of fertilised embryos which can be used in the future should they be required.
Advantages of ICSI – Sperm Microinjection
Although a procedure which requires both consultation and analysis by specialists prior to recommendation, ICSI has been proven to have a certain of advantages in comparison to other treatments.
The foremost benefit to couples is that it can guarantee viable fertilisation in situations where other treatments have failed or are inapplicable.
Potential mothers are also protected against Infectious diseases which the male counterpart may suffer from, something conventional IVF cannot safeguard against. ICSI is an innovative assisted human reproduction treatment which requires highly specialised personnel and technical equipment, although is both painless and without side effects.
Male infertility can be a delicate issue, and understandably there can be anxiety and reticence on behalf of men to undergo analysis and examination. Fortunately, thanks to innovation such as ICSI, parenthood can be realised by such medical advances should issues exist and has become a widely-used treatment with exceptional success rates.