Can IVF with ICSI Improve Treatment Success Rates?
IVF has long been a popular fertility treatment. IVF assists with each stage of conception to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. IVF alone offers high rates of success, but some patients may require more advanced assistance.
At the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, patients from Encino, CA, Bakersfield, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and surrounding areas can undergo IVF with ICSI. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an advanced technology that can further increase the rate of fertilization, making it more likely that patients will have viable embryos for the embryo transfer phase of IVF.
Overview of IVF Treatment
To understand how ICSI can be integrated with IVF treatment, it is helpful to have some basic knowledge of the traditional IVF process. IVF takes place in several stages.
IVF treatment starts with ovarian stimulation. During this phase of treatment women take fertility medication to stimulate the ovaries and encourage the production of multiple mature eggs.
Following ovarian stimulation, patients undergo an egg retrieval process. During a minimally invasive procedure, a thin, hollow needle is inserted into the follicles through the vagina. The needle suctions fluids from the follicles to draw out developed eggs.
Retrieved eggs are placed in sterile containers where they are mixed with a collected sperm sample. Fertilized eggs are observed for several days and the most viable are selected for embryo transfer. During embryo transfer embryos are deposited directly into the uterus, in the hopes that they will implant to the uterine lining and result in a healthy pregnancy.
ICSI vs. Conventional IVF Fertilization
ICSI is a technique that can be used during the fertilization phase of IVF. ICSI offers a greater degree of control than conventional IVF fertilization. During a conventional IVF treatment, each retrieved egg is placed in a small dish along with a concentrated sperm sample. The sperm then must penetrate and fertilize the egg on its own. Since the sperm is in such close proximity to the egg, fertilization rates are pretty high.
When performing ICSI with IVF, sperm is injected directly into the egg, rather than having to penetrate it on its own. The egg is carefully held in place while an ICSI needle is gently injected into the side of the egg. The needle contains a single sperm. The needle punctures a part of the egg called the ooplasm, and aspirates a small amount so that it is mixed with the sperm before the sperm is injected into the egg. With ICSI, the sperm does not have to travel or penetrate the egg on its own, so fertilization is likely.
Does ICSI Increase Fertilization Rates?
Both conventional IVF and IVF with ICSI can offer high fertilization rates. However, for patients with certain fertility issues, rates may be higher with ICSI. Most fertility specialists estimate the fertilization rate of conventional IVF to be around 50 percent (it is important to note that fertilization rates and pregnancy rates are different - not all fertilized eggs result in a successful pregnancy). Acording to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, when ICSI is performed alongside IVF, fertilization rates are estimated to fall between 50 and 80 percent.
ICSI is a safe and effective procedure. Any patient who is undergoing IVF can discuss the potential benefits of ICSI with our fertility doctors. While anyone is a potential ICSI candidate, this technique is most commonly recommended to patients with male factor infertility related to the quality or quantity of the sperm.
Get in Touch
If you are considering IVF treatment and would like to learn more about the procedure, and whether or not ICSI may be beneficial, the fertility doctors at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center would be happy to provide you with valuable information. To get in touch with our team, send us a message online, or call our office at (818) 946-8051.