Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI AT A GLANCE
WHAT IS ICSI?
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a specialized form of in vitro fertilization (IVF) most often used for men who have poor sperm quality or low sperm counts. During an ICSIprocedure, a single sperm is injected into each mature egg.
ICSI has revolutionized the treatment of male infertility. To date, tens of thousands of children have been born around the world as the result of ICSI.
WHEN IS ICSI USED?
Approximately 30% to 40% of all infertility is due to a male factor. ICSI increases the chance of fertilization for men who have:
- Many abnormal sperm (poor morphology)
- Few moving sperm (poor motility)
- Very low sperm counts
- An obstruction in the testes or epididymis which prevents the release of sperm
- Antisperm antibodies (antibodies produced by the man’s own body which may inhibit sperm function)
- Vasectomy reversals resulting in very low sperm counts or poor quality sperm production
- Low or absent fertilization during IVF
WHAT DOES ICSI INVOLVE?
First, we retrieve eggs from your partner in the same process that is used for a standard IVF cycle (for more information, see our IVF brochure). Then your semen sample is prepared in the lab to isolate as many healthy moving sperm as possible. The sperm are washed and prepared for fertilization.
Following egg retrieval, an embryologist examines the eggs under a microscope to determine which ones are mature and suitable for fertilization. The embryologist then carefully injects each of the selected eggs with a single sperm.
We place the injected eggs in an incubator, checking them the next day for signs of fertilization. We then choose the embryos most likely to grow into a healthy baby for transfer.
Not all eggs fertilize, and not all fertilized eggs become embryos. As with standard IVF, a number of factors determine how many embryos are replaced. You may choose to have any remaining healthy embryos that are not implanted frozen for future use.
WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE OF ICSI?
Genesis was the first clinic in BC to perform ICSI, and we have years of experience helping couples conceive with this procedure. An average of 70% to 80% of mature eggs will fertilize normally using ICSI. The clinical pregnancy rates are similar to those of standard IVF and vary with the age of the woman. Please see our website for current age-specific pregnancy rates.
Tens of thousands of children have been born as a result of ICSI and approximately half of all IVF cycles performed in the world use ICSI. One concern about ICSI is the possible health impact of this procedure on any resulting children. Some otherwise healthy men can carry a genetic cause for their low or abnormal sperm counts. These genetic abnormalities can be transmitted to a baby born through ICSI. The three most common known genetic abnormalities related to male infertility are:
- Cystic fibrosis gene mutations leading to congenital absence of the vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm from the testicle to the penis).
- Deletions of one or more genes present on the Y chromosome, called Y chromosome microdeletion.
- Chromosomal abnormalities, (such as an extra X or Y chromosome) which may be associated with severely reduced sperm counts, or no sperm at all in the semen.
Men who carry one or more of these chromosome problems may not be able to conceive a child, except usingICSI. It is possible that children born after ICSI may inherit a chromosome problem or have a birth defect. From several large studies we know that the rate of chromosome problems and major birth defects is slightly increased (1% to 2% higher than the general population) in the offspring of men with low sperm counts, whether they conceive spontaneously or with ICSI.
At Genesis, we offer genetic testing and counselling to look for these potential problems. ICSI is a remarkably safe technique, and Genesis is one of Canada’s most experienced clinics at performing ICSI.
COUNSELING AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Many couples have described coping with infertility as an “emotional rollercoaster.” We understand how emotionally difficult this journey can be. To help support you we include a counseling session in the cost of eachICSI cycle.
Our counselors are all experienced in helping couples cope with fertility issues. They can help you learn strategies for dealing with stress, managing your ICSI cycle, and nurturing your relationship with your partner.
Please see our fee guide for more information.
Genesis Fertility Centre is one of the largest IVF programs in Canada, and our success rates are among the best in the country. We have been at the forefront of reproductive medicine since 1995, helping thousands of couples achieve their dream of having a baby.
Whether you have just discovered that you have a fertility problem or have been struggling for years, Genesis offers you a unique blend of patient-centered care and state-of-the-art reproductive technology. At your first visit your physician will carefully assess you and your partner’s condition and develop a personalized treatment plan designed to give you the best chance of conceiving.
All services are provided in a completely discreet and confidential environment.