The Power Of ICSI

Male infertility cases are increasing in frequency. Poor sperm health, such as low sperm count, mobility, or morphology, can make pregnancy more difficult to achieve. A fertility specialist may recommend in vitro fertilization (IVF), a treatment involving egg retrieval, fertilization in a lab, and embryo transfer directly into the uterus. However, even IVF can be unsuccessful for men with severe infertility. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an additional treatment option that offers hope for couples who still want to conceive. However, even ICSI can fail in some cases.


Understanding sperm injection

Conventional IVF requires a sperm sample and eggs to create multiple embryos. When the sperm cannot adequately fertilize the egg to produce an embryo, ICSI is another option to consider. ICSI combines a single sperm cell with a single egg. The fertility clinic first extracts eggs from the woman’s ovaries after ovarian stimulation with fertility medication. The sperm sample is prepared and observed under a microscope to locate the healthiest candidate. Using a tiny needle, a single healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg to create an embryo. The fertility clinic then transfers the embryo to the woman’s uterus and waits for a successful pregnancy.

Can ICSI fail?

Studies show that ICSI has a high success rate. However, like any medical or fertility procedure, there is a chance of failed fertilization or a failed IVF cycle. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection relies on accessing healthy sperm cells from a single sample. Still, there can be an issue with sperm quality, such as mobility or abnormal morphology. Additionally, underlying genetic abnormalities or mutations in the sperm sample can impact embryo development. In some cases, poor handling of the sperm or egg samples, abnormal cell division, or poor embryo quality can lead to implantation failure.

Consider these next steps

An ICSI failure can feel like a devastating result. The couple may have tried IVF or other fertility treatments prior, and this could feel like another obstacle in the journey of parenthood. Despite the setback, there are some options available to still get pregnant. The fertility clinic may consider trying another ICSI cycle if there is viable sperm available. With procedures like IVF and ICSI, multiple cycles increase success rates significantly. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) can help discover if there is an underlying issue with the sperm. Some fertility clinics will try procedures like gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) or zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) to speed up the process. GIFT or ZIFT mimics the natural pregnancy cycle, and both approaches offer many benefits.

Discussing alternative options

If severe male infertility is present, ICSI and other fertility treatments may not work. At this point, the couple can consider donor sperm. A sperm bank can provide a healthy sample to combine with the egg, which increases IVF success rates. While the man is not biologically tied to the child, there is still a genetic connection through the mother. The couple can also choose a family member as a donor. Some couples may decide to get a second opinion from another fertility specialist, make adjustments to the existing protocol, or consider a homeopathic route. When all else fails, adoption is a viable alternative. The couple should discuss all options before deciding on a way forward.

A future family is still possible

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is an excellent fertility treatment option, especially if standard IVF fails. This extra step gives men with severe male infertility hope to start or grow a family. Despite the effectiveness of ICSI, this procedure can fail. Failed ICSI cycles can bring more emotional stress to an already trying time. However, other fertility options are available. From trying another ICSI cycle to opting for donor sperm, the fertility team can help hopeful couples finally conceive.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Enter your email address below and we will send you our monthly newsletter. We will never SPAM you and we never sell our mailing list. Ever.