When undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), various procedures take place in an effort to ensure pregnancy with couples who struggle to conceive on their own. One such procedure is intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ISCI for short. The procedure injects a single sperm into an egg during an IVF treatment, and is most commonly done when the sperm is related to infertility – but the procedure is also used in the event sperm does not easily fertilize eggs.
During conception, sperm must enter an egg to begin the fertilization process, but in some cases, sperm is too weak or lacks ample mobility to enter the egg. In these situations, ISCI increases the success rate for pregnancies – especially for those who have undergone previous IVF attempts and failed, or the couple is older. However, some cases of ISCI are still not successful – and with new technology, fertility doctors are able to use intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection, or IMSI, to increase success rates of sperm penetration to eggs.
During IVF, the woman patient begins to take medications to simulation egg development and when eggs reach maturity, they are extracted during a quick procedure and placed into a Petri dish. Sperm is also extracted from the male patient – and fertility doctors will isolate healthy, normal sperm for fertilization. Once the eggs and sperm are ready, the doctor collects a single sperm in a hollow needle and inserts it gently to the outer layer of the egg. When the needle has successfully inserted the sperm to the outer membrane, it is pushed further into the egg for fertilization. After three days, the fertility specialist will see if the egg is fertilized properly and implant it into the woman’s uterus during an IVF cycle.
If the attempt is unsuccessful, an IMSI procedure is an alternative option. During the procedure, specialists are able to view sperm under microscopes with magnification much larger – up to 6600 times -- than the standard 200 to 400 times magnification in traditional ICSI attempts. The extreme magnification allows specialists to clearly see healthy sperm to increase the fertilization rate.
Candidates of ISCI with IMSI
Candidates of the procedure include:
Benefits of ICSI with IMSI
Benefits of the procedure allow couples with unsuccessful IVF treatments using ICSI to have an increased chance at pregnancy by ensuring the selection of healthy sperm. With the drastically increased powerful magnification, fertility specialists are able to find healthy sperm and bypass those with defects that might decrease the chance of pregnancy.
Cost of ICSO with IMSI
In vitro fertilization is a pricey procedure, and costs differ depending on the number of additional treatments needed to ensure pregnancy. ICSI typically costs approximately $800, with an additional $450 for the IMSI procedure. In Thailand and Mexico, such treatments are often one-third of the price for identical procedures in the United States.
Finding Fertility Doctors and Specialists
Obstetricians and gynecologists are trained to implement the initial treatments of infertility using Clomid. Such a physician or fertility specialist should be board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Couples should find specialists who are a member of endocrinologist organizations or technologies. As such, they have completed medical school programs, followed by four years of residency training in obstetrics and gynecology, and then, two to three years of training in fertility within an approved program that results in board certification.
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