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Houston Fertility Center

Using the ICSI Technique with IVF

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on December 16, 2016

ICSIIntra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, is often used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF). This technique is particularly useful in cases of severe male infertility. Dr. Sonja B. Kristiansen and her team are experts in the ICSI technique to help couples conceive at our Houston, TX fertility center. With ICSI, couples can overcome their infertility and begin building their family.

Preparing for ICSI

Prior to performing ICSI, we must first harvest the female partner’s eggs. In most cases, this will involve a round of ovulation-stimulating medications. When peak ovulation is reached, we will retrieve the eggs for IVF and ICSI.

ICSI Procedure

Once the eggs have been retrieved, we will take either fresh sperm from the male partner’s semen, or frozen sperm that was surgically extracted from the epididymis or the testes. The method of extraction primarily depends on the type and degree of the male partner’s infertility.

Once we have the sperm, we will use micromanipulation techniques to select and handle the sperm and eggs. Using a specially designed, hollow, microscopic needle, we will pick up a single sperm and precisely inject it into the center, or cytoplasm, of a single egg. Once the injection is complete, we will monitor the egg for signs of development. If normal growth and development occurs, we will then implant the fertilized egg into the uterus for further growth.

Average ICSI Success Rates

Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection has a high fertilization success rate of 75 to 85 percent. This means that the egg we select to inject with a single sperm has a 75 percent chance or greater of successful fertilization and implantation. Typically, to ensure success, we harvest and store multiple eggs and sperm.

It is important to note that the fertilization rate is different from the pregnancy rate. In most cases, however, you can expect higher pregnancy success rates with IVF and ICSI than with IVF alone. We advise our patients to keep in mind that success rates vary based on individual factors, such as the type and degree of infertility, as well as the quality and quantity of the available eggs.

When to Consider ICSI

Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection is primarily recommended for couples struggling with severe male infertility. Typically this includes:

  • Concentrations of sperm less than 15 to 20 million per milliliter
  • Less than 35 percent sperm motility
  • Large number of abnormally shaped sperm

We also recommend ICSI for couples who have previously tried IVF without success or for those with a limited number of eggs available for retrieval.

Find Out if ICSI Can Help You Conceive

If you have been trying to conceive with IVF or other means and have been unsuccessful, it may be time to discuss alternative options. Many patients see greater success with IVF and ICSI combined. To find out if this option is right for you, contact our fertility center to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kristiansen.

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