ICSI : All you need to know
Fertility problems can be a big deal to all of these couples who are planning to conceive children of their own. To overcome infertility problems, many couples may go to doctors looking for treatments that may help them become parents.
Medications and pills are often enough. But sometimes the couple may have to consider other alternatives such as IVF or even Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICS for short.
The cost of ICSI
One of the main reasons patients opt for traditional IVF instead of ICSI is the extra costs. ICSI can add a few thousand dollars to the total cost of the IVF treatment. However, going for ICSI first for some patients may be better as it can enhance the chances of pregnancy.
The cost of the ICSI treatment includes the cost of the IVF treatment, the fees of the doctors, and the costs of the lab test in addition to the medications. These costs can vary greatly from one country to another.
In the United States of America, the cost of IVF with ICSI can range from $15,000 to $20,000 per cycle. In European countries, it can still be quite expensive ranging from $6,000 to $8,000 per cycle.
In Iran, it can be quite cheaper even with all the added costs of travel and hotels. On average, having IVF with ICSI in Iran costs nearly $2,500 per cycle, which is a lot cheaper than in most other countries.
What is ICSI?
ICSI or intracytoplasmic sperm injection is one of the common fertility treatments that are used to help couples with fertility issues have kids. ICSI aims to fertilize the eggs in the lab in a similar way to IVF, in fact, ICSI is considered to be a type of In Vitro Fertilization.
During traditional IVF cycles, the healthcare providers will put both the egg and the sperm into a dish in the lab. Afterward, they will wait for one of the sperm to go to the egg to fertilize it.
In the ICSI it is a little different story, the healthcare providers will use a special tool to inject one sperm into the egg.
Who should have ICSI?
ICSI is not usually the first option for the patients and many couples choose to try traditional IVF first, then go for ICSI when IVF does not help them conceive. However, there are some conditions when the ICSI better be the first choice especially when there is an issue with male fertility like:
- Having a low sperm count
- Having an abnormal shape of the sperm
- Having a blockage in the male reproduction system
- Having problems with the motility of the sperm
- There is a need to collect the sperm through surgery
There are other cases where ICSI is used like:
- The wife is older than 35 years
- The couples are using frozen sperm or eggs
How is ICSI performed?
ICSI treatment is a little bit similar to IVF treatment. Therefore, they have a lot of common procedures. Both the man and the wife will need to follow some guidelines to increase the chances of success.
The steps of the ICSI procedure are like the following:
The woman must have certain medications and shots to induce the maturation of the eggs. The woman will receive the needed meds for 8 to 14 days and be monitored daily to make sure that her vital signs are good.
When the eggs are mature, the doctor will give the woman an appointment to retrieve the eggs from the ovaries.
After the eggs are retrieved, the doctor will inseminate them. The process takes place under a microscope. The doctor uses a tiny needle to inject the sperm into the eggs.
After the Eggs are fertilized in the lab, the healthcare providers will monitor the eggs for around a week. During this week, they wait for the eggs to fertilize and get divided into cells, and become embryos. The embryos are then transferred back to the woman’s womb. The transfer procedure is short and simple.
Semen specimen in ICSI
The sample is usually taken during the day the eggs are retrieved (unless there is a need for surgery to get the sample). To get a suitable specimen, the doctor will advise refraining from sexual intercourse for one to three days.
If the patient prefers to get the sample at home, they should deliver the specimen within one hour of ejaculation.
The sample is to be taken to the lab where they will check the quality of the sperm, their volume, and their mobility.