The processes involved in creating a child are delicate and intertwined. Any misstep along the way can result in miscarriage or no pregnancy. One critical step in the process is egg fertilization. When standard insemination is ineffective, there is another lab service called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI.
When low sperm count, poor motility or abnormal morphology is a concern, ICSI is an ideal solution. With ICSI, the embryologist chooses the single best sperm out of a sample and injects it directly into an egg for fertilization.
Under normal circumstances, a sperm attaches to the outside of the egg. It then pushes its way through the outer layer of the egg to the cytoplasm inside where fertilization takes place. There are various reasons why sperm may not be able to penetrate the outer layer. Sometimes this outer layer is thick or hard. In some instances, the sperm may have motility issues. ICSI, along with in vitro fertilization (IVF), helps fertilize the egg.
How ICSI Works
Traditionally, IVF requires an egg and a sperm sample. The two are placed in a laboratory dish and approximately 50,000 or more sperm swim around the egg; one penetrates the outer layer and enters the cytoplasm to fertilize it. When ICSI is used, a single sperm is chosen and injected directly into the egg and fertilization takes place. This is done with a micropipette, which is a tiny needle. The fertilized egg now becomes the embryo and grows in the laboratory for 1 to 5 days before it is transferred to the woman’s uterus.
Overcoming Infertility with ICSI
There are several reasons why a couple may choose ICSI to help with egg fertilization:
- When the male partner has a low sperm count, ICSI is helpful.
- Sperm that do not move in a normal fashion may not be able to fertilize the egg.
- Sperm may have difficulty in attaching to the egg, which is necessary in order to penetrate the outer layer.
- If the male partner has a blockage in the reproductive tract, he may not be able to ejaculate the sperm.
- Traditional IVF has not resulted in fertilized eggs for some reason.
- In vitro matured eggs are being used.
- Previously frozen eggs are being used.
While this procedure may not work for all patients, it is a good option for some. If you have fertility issues, contact Neway Fertility. We can address your fertility issues and give you options to help build your family. Schedule a consultation appointment with us today.