With In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF), eggs are fertilised when sperm is introduced. Essentially, this is the same process that takes place during conception, but in this case, it has taken place outside the body.
A key factor in achieving a successful outcome using IVF is that the volume and quality of sperm. However, what happens if the volume or quality of sperm is sub-optimal?
With advances in the field of Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART), a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, was developed, to address this problem and maximise a couple’s chances of a successful outcome.
In an Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycle, the process of collecting eggs and sperm is similar to conventional IVF. The process differs in how ferilisation is achieved. ICSI refers to a laboratory procedure whereby a single sperm cell is injected directly into each egg, by highly skilled laboratory team (embryologists).
The next stages are the same as in an IVF cycle. The eggs are allowed to develop into embryos and after a period of time, some will be implanted back into the womb, to hopefully result in a pregnancy and live birth.
ICSI is commonly used to overcome severe male factor infertility, allowing for pregnancy rates comparable to IVF.
Like IVF, ICSI treatment typically entails six stages:
Usually, the first step is for the patient to meet with the General Practitioner (GP), who will refer them on to a Gynaecologist or Fertility Consultant for investigations and then treatment. Patients can ask to be referred to a clinic or their choice, or can self-refer themselves. It therefore makes sense to do the research and search for fertility clinics online and read patient reviews to understand other patients’ experience. But ultimately, nothing beats contacting the clinic to arrange a visit and meet with them directly.