How does ICSI vary from the usual IVF procedure?
The main difference between traditional IVF and IVF with ICSI, is the way that fertilisation takes place.
With traditional IVF, thousands of swimming sperm are placed into a laboratory dish, next to the egg. Fertilisation takes place when one of the sperm penetrates the egg.
With ICSI, a single sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg.
Who is ICSI suitable for?
There are many reasons why ICSI may be offered as an alternative to traditional IVF. These include:
· Low motility – the sperm are not able to move around normally
· Sperm struggling to attach to the egg
· Poor sperm production – not enough sperm for successful IUI or traditional IVF to be a viable option
· A blockage in the male reproductive tract, so the sperm have to be removed from the testes
· Traditional IVF attempts having been unsuccessful
· The use of more mature or previously frozen eggs
How effective is ICSI?
Like with traditional IVF, there are no guarantees that using ICSI will result in successful fertilisation or the birth of a live baby. Although some clinics routinely use ICSI in most patients, it has not been shown to increase success rates in couples where male factor infertility isn’t the apparent cause of their inability to conceive.
“For most people who have no evidence of male factor infertility, the chances of getting pregnant are the same whether they have ICSI or not and it will cost more if you’re paying for your own treatment.” (HFEA)
What are the risks associated with ICSI?
The risk of birth defects when children are conceived through IVF or ICSI, is around 3% higher than through natural conception.
During, or after the use of ICSI, some damage to the eggs may occur, embryos may not form or may stop growing. There is also a slight increase in the risk of having twins when ICSI is used.
Rarely, conditions affecting the male genitals have been associated with ICSI, for example, hypospadias. It is not known whether it is down to the ICSI procedure, or as a result of the existing male infertility issue.
There is some evidence that ICSI is associated with an increased risk of autism.
Why does ICSI cost more than traditional IVF?
Traditional IVF is a much less time-intensive procedure and requires less resources and expertise than ICSI, where a single sperm is specially selected and injected directly into the egg.
Your consultant will talk to you about the type of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) most suited to your diagnosis and your history and talk you through the benefits and risks involved in any proposed procedures.
Here at the IVF Network, we aim to help you to be informed and educated on your fertility journey, so that you can make the best choices for yourself and your family. We do this through our dedicated channel of experts, our website and our blog posts.
Robles, A. (MD) ICSI vs IVF: How To Know Which Is Right For You (Pros And Cons) August 2022
Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
“For most people who have no evidence of male factor infertility, the chances of getting pregnant are the same whether they have ICSI or not and it will cost more if you’re paying for your own treatment.”