ICSI – intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection
ICSI currently is the most advanced technique available to treat male infertility. It is used in conjunction with IVF and involves an extremely precise microscopic surgical procedure.
ICSI can be used in cases where the male patient produced only a very small number of sperm which are incapable of penetrating the barriers surrounding the egg without assistance. This is usually because the sperm have extremely poor to no movement. ICSI is also mandatory when sperm is directly retrieved from the testes.
What is the Procedure for ICSI?
ICSI is done as a part of IVF. Since ICSI is done in the lab, your IVF treatment won’t seem that much different than an IVF treatment without ICSI. As with regular IVF, you’ll be required to take ovarian stimulating drugs, while your doctor will monitor your progress. Once you’ve grown enough follicles, your eggs are to be removed from your ovaries with a specialized needle. Your partner should provide his sperm sample that same day (unless a sperm donor or previously frozen sperm is being used. Once the eggs are retrieved, they are to be placed in a special culture, and using a microscope and tiny needle, a single sperm will be injected into each egg. If fertilization takes place, and the embryos are healthy, an embryo or two will be transferred to your uterus.
PICSI – physiological intracytoplasmic sperm injection
Until now, the only technique available to embryologists to select the sperm has been visual observation. Using PICSI procedure we are able to determine sperm selection in much the same way it happens in human biology.
Sperm is placed in PICSI dish containing samples of hyaluronan hydrogel. Biochemically competent sperm bind to the hyaluronan where they can be isolated by the embryologist and used for the procedure. This procedure mimics a key step in the natural fertilization process, the binding of mature sperm to the oocyte complex. As a result, the selected sperm is essentially the same as one that would be successful in the natural reproductive process.