What Is ICSI-IVF? Risks Procedure Cost And Success Rate For Couples With Fertility Issues

What Is ICSI-IVF? Risks Procedure Cost And Success Rate For Couples With Fertility Issues

Almost 7 years of marriage, 35 years old Ankit and her wife lost all their hopes of having a baby. All these years he thought his wife has some problem but on contacting a doctor, it was revealed that Ankit had a fertility problem. His sperm count was low and he was unaware of this. So he consulted a fertility expert and now the couples are proud parents of not one but two children.

Technology in medical science has been developing in leaps and bounds. One of the biggest examples of the advancement can be seen in IVF treatment. This technology has enabled the mankind to fight fertility. Since the emergence of IVF decades ago, several techniques have now been developed dealing with specific cases.

One of the techniques is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) that basically addresses the male infertility factor.

What is ICSI?

ICSI is a part of IVF treatment and is also known as ICSI-IVF which is a short form of intracytoplasmic sperm injection with in vitro fertilization. In a normal IVF cycle, multiple sperms and a single egg are placed together in the hope that one out of those sperm would fertilize the egg. But if there are problems in sperms, the doctor may order semen analysis and then perform ICSI.

In ICSI, the doctor will take a single healthy sperm to directly inject it into the matured egg. The advantage of this technique is that it bypasses the interaction and involvement of normal fertilization. In other words, this technique does not depend or wait for the sperm to fertilize the egg on its own.

Many fertility centers recommend this process for every IVF cycle while some other clinics reserve this technique for males with severe fertility issues or some other conditions.ICSI-IVF treatment have good support base as this technique has enabled many woman conceive naturally using her own egg and her male partner’s sperm.

Who needs ICSI-IVF?

Mostly, this technique is used in case where male fertility factor is involved such as:

  • Low sperm count
  • Abnormal shape of the sperm
  • Poor sperm motility
  • When male produces sperm but ejaculation fails due to some obstruction
  • Complete absence of sperm

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Other reasons

There are other reasons behind choosing the ICSI-IVF option. These are:

  1. Low amount of eggs retrieved – During IVF cycle, it may happen that doctor is able to retrieve only a few eggs. If this is the case, ICSI can be used to increase the number of healthy embryos to be transferred.
  2. Low number of fertilized eggs – At times, good number of eggs is retrieved and sperm is also healthy but fertilization does not occur. In this case, ICSI may be used to increase the odds of getting pregnant.
  3. Inactive frozen sperm – In cases where thawed (unfreezed) sperm doesn’t seem to be much active, the doctor may perform ICSI-IVF.

Procedure of ICSI-IVF

As mentioned above, ICSI is a part of the IVF procedure. You will not find much difference in both the procedures since ICSI-IVF is performed in a lab. You will be taking drugs for ovarian stimulation and go through the regular ultrasound and blood tests, same as it’s done in the IVF.

Once your doctor confirms your ovaries have ejected enough good-sized follicles, he may retrieve the eggs from the follicles using special needle. On the other hand, your male partner will provide a sample of his sperm on the same day of egg retrieval.

The next step is to put the eggs in a special culture. The doctor or embryologist will wear a microscope and using a tiny needle, a single healthy sperm is injected into the matured egg. This will be repeated for every single egg retrieved, means if fertilization occurs, there would be multiple embryos.

Out of these many embryos, only one or two will be transferred through a catheter or tube that will go through the cervix to the uterus. This process typically occurs 2-5 days after egg retrieval.

Risks of ICSI-IVF

Though there are positives attached to ICSI as it can increases the success rate, it is not risk free. In fact, besides the risk of regular IVF cycle, it adds up a couple of more.

  • A typical pregnancy post 1.5 to 3 percent risk of major birth defects. But pregnancy with ICSI treatment, come at a bit increased risk of major birth defects such as heart or urogenital malformations.
  • Some researches also suggest that ICS-IVF may increase the possibility of children getting autism and intellectual impairment.
  • There are some specific mental disorders such as Angelman syndrome, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, sex chromosomal abnormalities and hypospadias associated with ICSI-IVF.
  • Male baby is also at a slightly increased risk of getting fertility problems later in life. This could be genetically passed on.

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Success Rate for ICSI-IVF

Despite of all the odds, the success rate of ICSI-IVF is promising. The technique is able to fertilize 50-80 percent of eggs. The procedure may inculcate a feeling that all the eggs are fertilized, but this is not the case. Injecting sperms into the matured eggs does not mean fertilization will definitely occur.

Even in cases where fertilization occurs, the embryo might fail to grow properly. However, the success rates of ICSI-IVF more or less are pretty much the same as in regular IVF treatment. The rate of successful pregnancies is about 40 percent per cycle in women less than 35 years of age.

Thesuccess rate decreases to 20-30 percent if the woman is aged 35-40 years old. This further decreases to mere 10-12 percent if the woman is over 40 years old.

Cost of ICSI-IVF treatment in India

The procedure of ICSI-IVF in India can cost from Rs. 60,000 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh including the medicines. As ICSI can be a part of IVF treatment, make sure you consult your fertility specialist whether IVF treatment include ICSI cost or not.

ICSI is relatively a new procedure and has changed many lives throughout the world. If you any queries, you should consult your gynecologist first and then she can refer you to a fertility specialist who will explain you the rest of the process in detail.