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Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, ICSI

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection can help overcome severe male factor infertility

Susan Hudson MD at Texas Fertility Center offers hope to individuals and couples facing severe male infertility. One of the most effective treatments for male issues is intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Also known as ICSI, this treatment is a laboratory procedure that helps sperm fertilize an egg.

To fertilize an egg, the sperm must attach to the outside of it. The sperm then needs to move through a layer called the zona pellucida. This allows the sperm to reach the inside of the egg and fertilize it. When the sperm can’t penetrate the outer layer, intracytoplasmic sperm injection can help by injecting the sperm directly into the egg.

How does ICSI work?

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection occurs in the laboratory as part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. During an IVF cycle, a woman takes medications to encourage her ovaries to produce and mature multiple eggs. Our New Braunfels fertility doctor then retrieves those eggs during an outpatient egg retrieval procedure. Next, she sends the eggs to the laboratory for fertilization.

  • In a traditional IVF cycle, an embryologist places 50,000 or more sperm in a petri dish with an egg. One of the sperm will then swim over to the egg and fertilize it.
  • In an ICSI cycle, an embryologist uses a tiny needle to inject a single sperm into the center of each egg.

After a sperm fertilizes an egg, the egg becomes an embryo. The laboratory team allows the embryos to grow for five days. Then, Dr. Hudson transfers one embryo to the uterus of the intended mother or a gestational surrogate. An embryologist can freeze the remaining embryos and place them in storage for the patient to use in the future.

Who can benefit from intracytoplasmic sperm injection?

Although ICSI is most often a treatment for male fertility issues, our New Braunfels fertility doctor recommends it for several groups of patients.

  • Men with fertility issues, including a low sperm count, poor sperm morphology (shape) or motility (movement), sperm that have trouble attaching to an egg or a blockage in the male reproductive tract.
  • Patients who have very few eggs to fertilize as part of an IVF cycle.
  • Intended parents who are using preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), as ICSI can help ensure a good biopsy specimen without contamination from other sperm in the specimen.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection successfully fertilizes approximately 90% of eggs. It is possible, though rare, for babies conceived by ICSI to be born with a birth defect or an increased risk of infertility themselves. However, these risks appear to be due to the nature of having a parent with infertility, not the fertility treatment itself.

When considering this treatment, Dr. Hudson can help you determine whether ICSI is a good choice for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our New Braunfels fertility doctor. She can help you welcome a healthy baby and achieve your dream of parenthood.