What is ICSI?
ICSI stands for intra cytoplasmic sperm injection. In simple terms, this is when the embryologist injects a single sperm into the middle of the egg. ICSI can increase the chance of getting the eggs to fertilize after they have been retrieved from the female patient. ICSI utilizes special medical devices and equipment including micro-manipulation tools and inverted microscopes that allows the embryologist to pick and capture individual sperm into a ICSI needle which is then injected into the shell of the egg where the sperm is injected into the inner part of the egg which is called cytoplasm. On average, when ICSI is utilized, about 70-85% of the eggs injected with sperm will fertilize. Before ICSI can be done, the female partner must take stimulation medications and go through the egg retrieval process in hopes that numerous eggs will be retrieved for the ICSI procedure.
Am I a good candidate for ICSI?
There is really no right or wrong answer. ICSI can increase the chance of fertilization in many cases but whether you are a good candidate or not is a discussion you should take up with your doctor. Often, ICSI is recommended for couples with severe male factor infertility which includes low sperm count, very poor sperm morphology and that do not want to use donor sperm. Some couples choose to do everything in their power to increase the chances of a successful IVF cycle so they choose to add on ICSI to the IVF procedure. ICSI can also help those who have a low yield of eggs that are retrieved in order to get them fertilized.
Success Rates When Using ICSI
Success rates for ICSI vary depending on each individual situation. Many IVF programs see anywhere from 70-85% of the eggs injected using ICSI become fertilized. Fertilization rate is different from the actual pregnancy rate. Just because an egg is fertilized does not mean it will develop into a viable pregnancy.
Often, pregnancy rates when doing IVF with ICSI show to be higher than IVF without ICSI. Once again, each individual situation varies based on infertility issues for both the male and female, age, skill of the infertility specialist and quality of the eggs. Often, ICSI is recommended for cases of male factor infertility due to the sperm not being able to penetrate and fertilize the egg(s). ICSI is also done when there is an egg factor case such as low ovarian reserves. This can mean there is a low number of eggs, low quality eggs or both low quantity and quality.
What is the cost of ICSI?
The cost of ICSI can vary based on different IVF treatment facilities and location. ICSI pricing can range anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 just for the ICSI portion alone. Once again, this varies from IVF clinic to IVF clinic so ask specific questions when you are at your IVF consultations.