ICSI - Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

ICSI is performed as part of IVF. It is performed when a small number of sperm is available & enables fertilization of an egg with even a single sperm cell.

The general process of IVF with ICSI is described below.

Step 1 - Preparation
Both partners go through a variety of tests. These vary from one medical center to the next, but often include hormone tests for the woman, AIDS and other tests for both partners and a sperm analysis for the man.

The medical center decides on a treatment plan -- how the egg production will be stimulated in the woman and when it will begin (on what day of the woman's cycle).

Frequently Lupron (also known as decapeptyl) is used to help the doctors take full charge of your hormones.

Egg production is stimulated using hormones (e.g. Pergonal, Repronex, Fertinex, Follistim, Gonal F, Novarel, Ovidrel, Pregnyl, Profasi, and Menogon and Puregon), with the goal being to produce a "good" number of eggs to help increase the chances of having several viable embryos. (Good is defined differently in different medical centers).

The stimulation of egg production takes anywhere from several days to close to two weeks. During this time the woman is monitored closely using ultrasound and blood tests.

Step 2 - Ova or Egg Aspiration / Retrieval
Once the eggs are ready, they are aspirated or retrieved using a needle that goes through the vaginal wall and into each follicle.

This procedure is generally performed using light general anesthesia. It usually takes less than an hour from the beginning of the preparation until the woman wakes up from the anesthesia.

The man is asked to give a sperm sample. He may be asked to come in with it in the morning or may be ushered to a private room... A sperm sample may also be obtained using surgical methods such as MESA and TESE.

Step 3 - Fertilization
The lab evaluates the ova and the sperm and decides how to proceed. The end result is hopefully embryos.

Depending on the local policy, you may have information about the number of embryos as early as the following morning.

ICSI - Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection - is perfomed at this time. An individual sperm is selected and injected into each egg.

Step 4 - Embryo Transfer
Once the embryos are formed and have started to grow, it's time to put them where they belong - in the uterus.

One or more embryos are transferred to the woman's uterus using a catheter. The process is similar to IUI (intra-uterine insemination) and is relatively painless.

Step 5 - Waiting
Maybe one of the hardest parts of the whole process. The two-week wait. It might only be two weeks, but it can seem like an eternity.

Support in the form of progesterone suppositories or injections may be given. This helps keep the progesterone levels high, to increase the chance of a pregnancy being established.

Related stories:
Natalie's story - IVF, ICSI
Helen's story - IVF, ICSI, Frozen Embryo Transfer
Paige's story - IVF, ICSI, Sperm Donation
Mary's story - IVF, ICSI
Kandace's story - IVF, ICSI
Elizabeths story - IVF, ICSI
Stephanie's story - IVF, ICSI
Lorraine's story - IVF, ICSI

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ICSI News:
Pre-ICSI Treatment for men

Disclaimer: Information on this page is provided as a service to Fertility Stories visitors and is not to be viewed as medical advice.