Trying To Find The Recipe For Success
For many couples struggling with infertility, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be a successful reproductive treatment option. In the procedure, eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory with the hope that the sperm will fertilize the egg. Ideally, this fertilized egg will become an embryo that can be transferred into a woman’s uterus. In intracellular sperm injections (ICSI), a single sperm is injected directly into the egg, bypassing the need for the sperm to break through the egg’s wall. While ICSI is not a guarantee of making a baby, for some couples it is the recipe for success when it comes to IVF.
ICSI is ideal for slower swimmers
ICSI is most effectively used in cases of male factor infertility. Male infertility could mean that the male partner does not have enough sperm, or that the sperm may not swim well enough to reach the egg. It also could mean that sperm may not be shaped well to get through the egg wall. In other cases, a blockage in the male partner’s reproductive tract could prevent him from producing sperm.
Even if the male partner has no known fertility issues, if initial cycles of IVF did not result in fertilized eggs, ICSI may be the next recommended option. Because ISCI ensures that the sperm gets into the egg, the chances of fertilization are high.
ICSI sounds great; are there any downsides?
While fertilization rates are high with ICSI, not all fertilized eggs will develop into embryos. Some damage to embryos is possible. Or, if some of a woman’s eggs are abnormal, they may develop into abnormal embryos. With both IVF and ICSI, the risk of birth defects is about the same as with natural conception, at less than 1%. Both IVF and ICSI can increase the risk of multiple births, which also increases the risk of some pregnancy complications. However, carefully controlling the transfer of embryos to the uterus can minimize multiples risk.
Eliminating as many barriers as possible
Some clinics will use ICSI in every IVF treatment. Infertility treatment can be an emotional journey. ICSI can help to eliminate as many barriers to fertilization as possible, which, in turn, can help a couple to keep a positive attitude.