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The Risks of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

By HCRM on August 15, 2017


ICSI during IVFMany patients have benefited from in vitro fertilization (IVF) at our Omaha practice. Sometimes, though, IVF alone will not be able to address the issues a patient or a couple faces. That's why our team of fertility specialists offer many other procedures that can increase the chances of successful pregnancy. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is one such treatment that can improve the success rates of IVF.

While ICSI has a number of benefits, there are risks involved that are important to consider. Let's cover the basics of ICSI and then look into the risks.

What Is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?

ICSI can be used as part of an IVF procedure when there is severe male-factor infertility. Essentially, the ICSI procedure involves injecting an individual sperm into an egg during the IVF procedure. This ensures fertilization occurs in the lab.

ICSI is recommended when male partners have problems with sperm count, sperm motility, sperm morphology, and other matters.

Is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) Effective?

Yes, it can be. When ICSI is performed as part of the IVF process, the fertilization rate can be as high as 50 percent to 80 percent. This greatly boosts the chances of successful pregnancy.

Yet despsite these benefits, there are important risks to consider.

Risk of Damaged Eggs and Embryos

Since the egg is pierced in order to inject a sperm into it, there is a risk of damage to the egg and the resulting embryo. This could reduce the chances of pregnancy.

Risk of Poor Sperm Health

There's some suggestion that ICSI may mean an unhealthy sperm may fertilize an egg. In essence, if a sperm cannot fertilize an egg naturally, perhaps it is not of ideal health, and hence should not have fertilized an egg.

Fertility specialists must take care to properly screen sperm before they proceed with the ICSI process.

Risk of Birth Defects to the Child

These issues with sperm health and egg/embryo condition mean there's a risk of a child developing birth defects. The age of the parents and a host of genetic factors must also be considered in these cases.

While the risk is very low (roughly 1 percent or less), it's important that patients know of even a small fraction of risk involved with any procedure.

Risk of Twins and Triplets

As with IVF in general, people who undergo professional fertility treatment face an increased risk of multiple births. The chances of twins and triplets is much higher because of IVF.

Do the Benefits of ICSI Outweigh the Risks?

For many patients and couples, the benefits of ICSI far outweigh the risks. Since ICSI can increase the chances of having a child, that may supersede any other issues they may face.

Is ICSI Right for Me?

The best way to find out if ICSI and IVF are right for you is to schedule a consultation at our practice. We can go over all of your options for treatment in much greater detail and help you make the right choices with regard to fertility treatment given your situation.

Contact Our Fertility Specialists

For more information about ICSI, IVF, and other fertility treatment options, we encourage you to speak with our experienced fertility treatment specialists today. The team at our practice looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters in much greater detail.

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Each and every staff member at Heartland Center is tremendous. Dr. Maclin is a woman of grace, and a terrific medical doctor. She is a world-class surgeon, and we are so grateful to know her.

Lene - IVF Patient

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