Top 5 Questions About ICSI Answered

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While in vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) – and with good reason – there are several kinds of IVF that can be utilized for the greatest chance of success. IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection, or ICSI, is one way to increase your odds of a successful pregnancy.

1. What is ICSI-IVF?

During a typical IVF cycle, the sperm and egg are collected from the intended parents or donors and mixed together in a petri dish by an embryologist. If there are sperm factor issues that could make fertilization more challenging, such as a low count or motility issues, ICSI may be recommended. Here, the embryologist takes the fertilization process a step further and uses a small needle to inject the egg directly with the sperm. Because the sperm does not have to break through the outer wall of the egg, it increases the chance of fertilization.

2. Is ICSI different from IVF?

Yes, ICSI is an optional procedure that is used in conjunction with IVF. There are 5 basic steps to IVF, including:

  1. Stimulation of the ovaries with the use of fertility medication so that multiple eggs are produced.
  2. Egg retrieval at the IVF clinic.
  3. Insemination and fertilization of the egg with the intended father or donor sperm. They are stored in a chamber with a controlled environment so that they can incubate. It is at this stage that ICSI would be performed.
  4. Embryo testing to diagnose any genetic disorders or issues with quality.
  5. Embryo transfer to implant the highest quality embryo back into the intended mother or gestational carrier.

Typically, 60 to 80% of the eggs that are injected with sperm will fertilize to create embryos; those embryos often undergo preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) to determine which is the healthiest. The embryos are then frozen for later use, or the highest quality embryo is implanted. The chance of a successful pregnancy with an embryo created through ICSI is the same as it is through standard fertilization.

3. What are the risks of ICSI?

There may be a slight possibility of increased chromosomal abnormalities, defects in the urinary system or genitals, and rare issues like Angelman syndrome in children born via ICSI. However, it’s more likely due to sperm abnormalities than the procedure itself. This is another reason that many intended parents who opt for ICSI choose to have their embryos screened through PGT before freezing or implantation.

4. How much does it cost to have ICSI?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the national average cost of an IVF cycle is about $12,000 before the cost of medication. ICSI typically costs an additional $1,500 to $2,000 per cycle.

5. Is ICSI right for me?

If you’ve been diagnosed as having male factor infertility, or if sperm quality issues are suspected, your doctor may recommend ICSI. Low sperm count is one reason, as is morphology – when the sperm is not shaped in a way that can penetrate the wall of the egg – or motility if the sperm isn’t strong enough to get to the egg at all.

If you’re exploring alternative routes to family building, we’re here to support you. Contact us to learn more about your options and how our surrogacy and egg donor services can be the right choice for you.