For those who have been finding difficulty in conception, you’ve probably looked into different options, such as the ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) procedure. However, not a lot of people are familiar with ICSI, only learning about it during their research or when doing the IVF procedure already.

So what is ICSI and what makes it a great option when doing it together with IVF? More importantly, can ICSI help with the success rates of conception? Read on as I talk more about ICSI, what it does, and how it can help with your IVF procedure and the overall success rates.

What Is ICSI?

ICSI is a simple process done with the IVF procedure. It’s a specialized form of IVF which is used for those who have cases of male infertility, after egg freezing, or for those who have had repeated failed fertilization attempts when using IVF.

With typical IVF procedures, many sperm would be placed with an egg, with chances of one sperm going in and fertilizing the egg. With ICSI-IVF, an embryologist would take one single sperm and inject it directly in an egg. It’s actually a recommended process for every cycle for some fertility clinics.

Who Is It For?

Usually, ICSO-IVF is recommended and done in various cases revolving around male infertility, like:

  • Having very low sperm count
  • Poor sperm movement
  • Sperm is abnormally shaped
  • Not having sperm in ejaculation but producing sperm (as it will be retrieved using testicular sperm extraction [TESE])
  • Retrograde ejaculation (sperm in man’s urine)

There are also other reasons why ICSI-IVF is done, including:

  • You will use frozen sperm or oocytes
  • The previous IVF cycles done have had few to no fertilized eggs
  • In vitro maturation will be used
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis will be done

Benefits of Doing IVF with ICSI

There are various benefits as to why ICSI-IVF is beneficial, as it helps heighten the success rates if male fertility prevents it. ICSI is also helpful for men who have had a vasectomy but want a child, or for other situations that impacts sex, sperm production, ejaculation, or other reproduction issues in men (such as physical defects or paralysis).

Directly injecting sperm to the egg can also heighten the IVF procedure’s success if ever there are a lower number of healthy or quality eggs. However, do take note that this does not mean a 100% success rate.

What’s the Process?

ICSI is not done alone, but as a part of the typical IVF procedure, so there isn’t much of a difference. You will be taking ovarian stimulating drugs and you will then be monitored through ultrasounds and blood tests. Egg retrieval will be done when ready and your partner will provide sperm sample the same day, unless you’ll be using frozen sperm or a donor.

The embryologist will then place the eggs in special culture, injecting one single sperm for every egg retrieved. If fertilization happens and there are healthy embryos, it will then be transferred to your uterus using a catheter about two to five days after retrieving it.

The Success Rates of IVF with ICSO

The typical IVF procedure without ICSI has a success rate of between 60-70%. As for ICSI-IVF, the success rate increases to about 70-85%, with studies showing that live birth rates were higher when using ICSI procedure with IVF.

However, this success rate can vary from different factors, such as the fertility clinic you go to, you and your partner’s conditions, among other things. So make sure that you do your research on choosing the right fertility clinic with positive rates on fertilization, pregnancy, and live birth.


Any Risks and Side Effects? 

While ICSI-IVF procedures do have a slightly higher success rate, there are also some risks and effects you have to watch out for, such as:

  • There is less of a risk of multiple births compared to IVF without ICSI, unless multiple embryos were transferred
  • There might be a risk to the embryos as sperm is injected to the egg with a needle, creating the risk of damage to the embryo.
  • The risk of birth defects is there, but it’s minimal with less than 1%

So before you undergo ICSI, make sure that you discuss these risks and other potential ones wit your fertility specialist.

How Much Is It?

The costs of ICSI would vary depending on the location and your fertility clinic. On average, this process would cost about $1,500 (between $1,400 to $2,000), not including any other extra tests or procedures that may be required before and after the ICSI-IVF.

This is also on top of the IVF costs, which can be about $12,000 to $15,000. Make sure to look into your insurance and other payment options!

Wrapping It Up

There are many things to learn about when undergoing the IVF procedure, as there are more things you’re able to do to help with conception, depending on your condition. With ICSI, it can really help couples who have issues with male infertility and the like. As long as you do your research right, you’re able to properly undergo these procedures and have higher chances of success.

I hope that this article on the ICSI procedure helped inform you more about what this is and how it can help your case. So start looking into more of your options for a good success rate now.

If you have any questions or want to share your experiences with ICSI, then comment below. Your thoughts will be much appreciated.

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