Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a specialized procedure that is performed along with IVF for egg fertilization. During this procedure, fertility specialists inject a single sperm directly into the cytoplasm of the egg.


Overview about ICSI

Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI procedure is a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology that is used to help couples who are unable to conceive due to severe male factor infertility. In this procedure, a washed and prepared sperm is directly injected into the ovum (or egg) which assists in fertilization. This procedure is done as a part of an IVF technique.

Who can benefit with an ICSI Treatment ?

ICSI IVF procedures are recommended for couples who are facing certain specific male factor infertility problems. It is usually advised to individuals having:

Low Sperm Count

ICSI is considered to be an effective option for men with problems related to low sperm count. During ICSI, the strongest and the healthiest sperm are isolated, collected, and cleansed and one healthy sperm is injected into the egg. ICSI is the most common and successful treatment for male infertility. However, as in IVF there are still many other factors affecting a successful pregnancy, including the age of the woman and her fertility difficulties.

Reduced sperm motility

Low sperm motility can hamper natural conception. Some men may have a genetic cause, while others may have an undiagnosed medical condition. Poor lifestyle and environmental factors are also significant factors for unhealthy or reduced sperm motility. ICSI treatment when combined with IVF treatment helps in treating male infertility as it helps to bypass the issue of abnormal or bad sperm motility by directly injecting a single sperm into the egg.

Inability of sperm to penetrate the egg

There are several male infertility cases where there are different or unknown reasons why sperm is unable to penetrate the egg and thus affecting natural conception.In cases where sperm fails to penetrate the outer layer of the egg due to different reasons, thereby affecting the sperm’s ability to swim. ICSI is helpful for couples with male infertility.

Previous infertility treatment and IUI failures

ICSI is also considered to be the best infertility treatment in cases of multiple IUI failures or repeated failures of other infertility treatments. ICSI when combined with IVF improves the chances of egg fertilization.ICSI maximizes the chance of fertilization taking place as it bypasses any potential problems the sperm will have in getting inside the egg.

ICSI Process

The Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection process is divided into several stages before the actual ‘ICSI procedure’. These steps include:

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The female partner is given medication to stimulate the development of follicles in the ovary on Day 2 of her menstruation. The stimulation is done till day 6 or as is deemed appropriate by the specialist. 

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Sperm are extracted from the male partner and are then washed and concentrated. Healthy sperm are then collected for further examination.

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Medication and final stimulation lead to the release of the mature egg. The egg is collected in the clinic and is done by ultrasound guidance under sedation. The retrieved egg is then sent for processing in the ART laboratory.

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The retrieved egg and sperm are sent to the specialized labs for examination by fertility experts. Prior examination of the health of egg and sperm helps in a smooth and successful ICSI treatment. 

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The healthy sperm is then directly transferred into the cytoplasm of the egg to enhance the chances of fertilization

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After confirmation of successful fertilization, the fertilized eggs are then transferred into the uterus to allow implantation to occur. 

ICSI Procedure's Cost

The cost of an ICSI procedure tends to vary from hospital to hospital and is different in different cities. On average the cost of an ICSI procedure costs around INR 70, 000 to 2, 50, 000.

Success and ICSI

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The success rate of IVF with ICSI procedure is around 50-70%, however in women more than 35 years of age, the success rate is lesser. The success of an ICSI procedure depends upon several factors such as:

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    Age of the female partner

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    Duration of infertility

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    Type of infertility

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    Cause of infertility

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    Quality of the sperm, ova (eggs), and embryo

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    Male infertility

Myths around ICSI

A. ICSI is better than IVF

Fact: Going by the research ICSI is an infertility treatment that is considered as effective and successful as In Vitro Fertilization because sperm is directly injected into the egg so it helps to bypass certain reproductive health-related conditions.

B. ICSI has high success rates than IVF 

Fact: ICSI treatment is considered to be a successful procedure for male infertility and especially in cases where repeated failures of IUI and treatments were observed. Fertilization, however, is guaranteed, neither in IVF nor in ICSI. There are various factors on which the success rates of ICSI and IVF depend. 

C. ICSI babies aren’t normal

Fact: While some people perceive babies born out of IVF or related treatments and procedures aren’t normal, it is important to state that pregnancy conceived out of these treatments can be treated as a normal pregnancy after successful pregnancy results.

D. More than one sperm is required in ICSI

Fact: In ICSI treatment, only one healthy sperm is enough is required for successful egg fertilization

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