What is Intra – Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?

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We are meeting a lot of couples these days where the man is producing a semen sample with very low sperm count or the motility is very much on the lower side.  So much so, that sometimes the sperm count can be even zero.  In this situation, of course, we can harvest some sperm from the testes of the man, but this sperm can be utilized to produce an embryo through a special procedure called ICSI or Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection.  It’s a type of IVF procedure only where the main difference lies in the method that we use for fertilization of the egg with the sperm.

In otherwise classic IVF procedures, we make the sperm and the egg lie together under culture conditions and we expect the sperm to penetrate the egg on its own.  But in case of ICSI, we select the best sperm from the semen sample that is available or the testicular sperm and we inject that individual sperm into individual egg.  This gives rise to an embryo and that embryo is then re-positioned into the woman’s womb to create a pregnancy.  Success rates similar to a classic IVF procedure, other steps of course similar to a classic IVF procedure, but through the classic IVF procedure, we had much lesser fertilization rates or the embryo formation rates, this obstacle can be overcome with the help of ICSI procedure.

– Dr. Rita Modi (Fertility Specialist, Currae Hospital, Thane)

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