When in vitro fertilization (IVF) was first established in 1978, the fertilization process was accomplished by placing sperm close to an egg and then waiting for fertilization to spontaneously occur. It was noted in these early days of IVF, though, that eggs often had poor fertilization rates with male factor infertility.
Today, an assisted reproductive technology called ICSI, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, has been developed to enhance IVF by injecting a single sperm directly into a mature egg. This procedure helps many couples overcome male factor infertility as well as other types of infertility.
How Widely Used is ICSI?
More and more patients are using ICSI in clinics across the U.S. and world. Initially, ICSI was used in couples only when an abnormal semen analysis had been obtained. However, in 5% to 25% of couples with unexplained infertility or other problems, there are still less-than-optimal fertilization rates using typical methods – and ICSI can help those couples overcome infertility, too. More than 65% of all IVF cases in the U.S. currently use ICSI. In fact, it is not uncommon to find clinics that use ICSI in almost all of their patients undergoing IVF.
Are There Risks with ICSI?
If a woman gets pregnant naturally, there is a 1.5% to 3% chance that the baby will have a major birth defect. The chance of birth defects after ICSI are rare. Certain conditions that have been associated with the use of ICSI (Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Angelman syndrome, hypospadias, or sex chromosome abnormalities) are thought to occur in far less than 1% of children conceived using this technique.
Some of the problems that cause infertility may be genetic. Therefore, boys conceived with the use of ICSI may have infertility issues as adults.
At Fertility Associates of Memphis, our on-site, state-of-the-art laboratory routinely uses ICSI to maximize fertilization and pregnancy rates in appropriate couples. Last year, approximately 62% of all IVF cycles performed in our clinic used ICSI.
To learn more about ICSI or to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified physicians, please contact our Fertility Associates of Memphis office at 901-747-2229.